27 Aug 2019

Gang member restrained in courtroom after sentencing

1:26 pm on 27 August 2019

The man behind an armed stand off with police in Napier had to be restrained and dragged from the dock after being sentenced for two firearms offences.

Hemi Taylor in court today.

Hemi Taylor in court today. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Hemi Taylor, 26, held his partner and baby hostage for nearly 12 hours while high on methamphetamine.

The stand off with police in Napier on 23 July ended as he emerged from his house carrying his baby daughter.

The patched East Coast Mongrel Mob member had consumed "a large amount of methamphetamine" destined for a drug deal and used his pregnant partner and baby as a "shield" to protect himself from gang members he thought were out to kill him over the missing drugs, according to a police summary of facts.

Taylor was sentenced at Napier District Court today to two years six months jail.

He refused to leave the dock after he was sentenced, and five security guards restrained him and dragged him from the courtroom as the court was cleared.

Taylor's lawyer Eric Forster said his client had a history of mental health issues and had substituted taking his prescription medication with methamphetamine.

Judge Tony Adeane added extra jail time because the incident involved Taylor's four-month-old daughter but discounted some for his early guilty plea.

"The final matter of aggravation in my view is the involvement of an infant.

"Not long ago, a gang member brandishing a shot gun accidentally discharged it and killed his own two-year-old daughter," Judge Adeane said.

Taylor's offending represented "the most serious of its kind", he said.

Judge Adeane said a pre-sentencing report showed Taylor had a high risk of reoffending.

"Remorse in my view is yet to be tested and is offset by the risk assessment."

The 12-hour incident on 23 July sent nearby schools into lockdown for several hours, closed roads, and prevented dozens of residents from being able to return to their homes that night.

Earlier that afternoon Taylor had armed himself with a shotgun cut down to pistol length.

He and his partner of seven years, with their four-month-old daughter, visited his partner's mother in Napier.

The police report said he paraded the firearm around the house before going outside and firing it at a fence yelling the gang slogan 'sieg heil'.

After arguing with his partner over the baby, he grabbed the child and took her with him in the car with the firearm. Returning to the address a short while later he picked up his partner and drove to their home in Alexander Ave.

By this time police had been alerted and had located his car parked in the driveway.

"The defendant was in the house with the firearm and was using his partner and baby as a shield in case the Mongrel Mob were out to get him."

With police realising this would likely become a protracted incident, the area was secured with cordons and schools were put in lockdown. The Armed Offenders Squad was dispatched and a strategic tactics group from Wellington was flown to Napier from Wellington by helicopter.

At about 1.30pm on 25 June, after 12 hours of the area being shut down, the defendant agreed to surrender and was take into custody, the police report said

Taylor emerged from the house carrying his baby daughter.

The defendant's partner was spoken to by police but declined to make any complaint, the report said.

Police later found a single-barrelled shotgun, cut down to pistol length, with one cartridge still in the barrel wrapped in cloth and hidden in drawers.

Taylor did not have a firearms licence and "had no reasonable excuse for being in possession of a firearm". The report said the defendant, in explanation, stated he did not have anything to do with a firearm.