10 Aug 2018

Shooter of taxi driver has sentencing adjourned to finish rehab

12:28 pm on 10 August 2018

Sentencing for a man who admitted shooting a Wellington taxi driver has been deferred to allow him to complete a drug rehabilitation course, which is only available to remand prisoners.

Dylan Nuku appeared in the High Court in Wellington.

Dylan Nuku appeared in the High Court in Wellington. Photo: RNZ

Dylan Nuku appeared in the High Court in Wellington, after pleading guilty in June to charges relating to a shooting last November, including wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and unlawful possession of a firearm.

He is also facing other charges, among them breaching prison release conditions, shoplifting and threatening behaviour.

On 18 November last year, taxi driver Alem Tesema picked up Nuku and his companion, Paris Ohuka, and drove them to Miramar as they requested.

Ohuka was carrying a pistol in her handbag, which Nuku removed during the taxi ride.

When the taxi stopped Ohuka tried to pay using a Prezzy card and when Mr Tesema said she could not do so, Nuku shot him in the shoulder through the driver's window.

Mr Tesema managed to escape and seek help at a nearby petrol station and later had surgery to remove bullet fragments from his shoulder.

Before his sentencing began this morning Nuku asked Justice Cull if it could be put off to a later date.

"I was asked last week, Monday, to do an intermediate AOD programme which runs for 8 weeks, but only for remand prisoners. It finishes on the 21st of September, but there's a week break before graduation, which is on the 28th of September.

"But if I were to be sentenced today I then wouldn't have the chance to complete [the] rehabilitative programme, because sentenced inmates cannot mix with remand prisoners."

Alem Tessema was shot by Dylan Nuku in Miramar on Sunday night.

Alem Tesema was shot in Miramar while working as a taxi driver in Wellington last year. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Justice Cull heard sentencing submissions from the Crown and defence lawyers, then took a break so more information could be sought about the programme offered to Nuku.

After some discussion with the lawyers and Corrections she agreed to adjourn the sentencing.

"And I think I'm saying on behalf of all counsel how important it is that we recognise the positive steps you've taken to assist your rehabilitation and that is something nobody wants to stand in the way [of]. That is the purpose of sentencing.

"And I wish you all the very best with that course and urge you to complete it."

Nuku will now be sentenced on 5 October.

His companion who was with him at the time of shooting, Paris Ohuka, pleaded guilty last month to unlawful possession of the firearm involved in the shooting.

She will be sentenced in Wellington's High Court on 12 October.