8 Dec 2010

Sentence increased for man who killed Maori leader

4:38 pm on 8 December 2010

The Court of Appeal has increased the sentence imposed on an Opotiki man for the manslaughter of Maori leader Hawea Vercoe.

Mr Vercoe, 36, was a school principal and Bay of Plenty regional councillor.

He died in November last year after being attacked by Isaiah Tai outside a bar in Whakatane.

In April at the Rotorua High Court, Justice Potter jailed Tai for two years and 10 months.

The Crown filed an appeal, saying the starting point of four-and-a-half years was too low and the end sentence manifestly inadequate.

The Court of Appeal in Wellington agreed, and on Wednesday increased Tai's sentence to four years and six months' imprisonment.