'Extreme' attack sentence upheld
The nine-year jail term imposed on a man who attacked Kapiti Coast builder Robert Bryden has been upheld on appeal.
In a judgment issued today, the Court of Appeal said the kicking and stomping of Bryden was extreme.
The way Ioritana Tuau, 23, had attacked Bryden left him unable to function without help from others.
"He cannot move purposefully and cannot speak. Life will be a misery for himself and family and friends who support him," the court said.
The seriousness of Bryden's injuries could not be overstated, it said.
The attack early on September 15, 2011, in central Wellington began when Bryden, 27, had seen Tuau and a woman arguing and asked whether they needed any help.
When Tuau replied, "We New Zealanders can take care of ourselves", Bryden stunned Tuau with at least one punch, and Tuau fell in the street.
Bryden walked on with his friends, but strangers who helped Tuau to his feet ran after Bryden and cornered him outside a Tory St parking building.
The other two men have not been found, but a witness identified Tuau as kicking Bryden's head when he was on the ground.
Tuau went to the police when he recognised himself on closed-circuit television footage from a nearby service station that was released when police were investigating the attack, but he said he could not remember what had happened.
When the case was in the Wellington District Court, Tuau had been told he would get about five years and three months' jail if he pleaded guilty.
He did not plead at that time because more scientific evidence was sought, and a guilty plea was not entered until about two weeks before his trial was to begin in the High Court.
The Court of Appeal said Tuau might have been due for a more generous discount for the guilty plea and remorse, but it was balanced by having received a greater than normally appropriate credit for Bryden having provoked the attack.
The nine-year jail term was upheld, as was the order that Tuau serve at least half the sentence before he is considered for parole.
The court accepted the Crown's submission that the crime needed to be denounced as one that "horrified the community" and would not be adequately marked if Tuau was eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence.
The Dominion Post