'Victims' accused of lying
The trial of four related Levin men accused of kicking and punching three other men in the middle of a playground has ended, with their defence lawyers accusing two of the alleged victims of lying.
Richard Tatana, 48, Richard Frank Tatana, 21, Anthony Blair Abraham Tatana, 23, and Brandon Calvin Jones, 26, are each facing two charges of injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and one charge of injuring with intent to injure.
Richard Tatana Sr is the father of Richard Frank Tatana and Anthony Tatana, and the uncle of Brandon Jones.
At the end of the trial at the High Court in Palmerston North, Judge Les Atkins gave a summary of what the defence and prosecution were basing their cases on.
He said Crown prosecutor Deborah Davies had based her argument on the witness of victims Michael Parker and Nathan Wehipeihana.
She said Jones had been aggressive to Mr Parker at O'Malleys Bar in Levin on December 22, 2010, and had suggested a "one-on-one" outside.
They then went to Adventure Playground and proceeded to fight.
At one stage, Mr Parker was holding Jones in a choke-hold on the ground. But then Richard Tatana Sr stomped on Mr Parker's face.
At that point, Mr Parker and his friend, Mr Wehipeihana, were set upon by the four accused, she said.
She said Mr Wehipeihana saw Mr Parker being kicked, and had felt kicks coming from three people.
Later, William Lander and a friend went to the playground, where Mr Lander was attacked by the four men.
The jury would be able to work out the attacks injured the men, were caused by the accused and that they had intended to cause the level of injuries.
"You can't read their minds but you should look at what they did to see their intent," she said.
However, all four defence lawyers – Fergus Steedman, Tony Thackery, Mike Ryan and Steve Winter – said discrepancies in Mr Parker's story gave reason for the jury to disregard his testimony and that of Mr Wehipeihana.
Mr Parker was called "dishonest", "a liar" and "untrustworthy" by separate lawyers.
It was also argued that Mr Lander's injury, a black eye, did not amount to enough damage to be considered grievous bodily harm.
The jury would continue deliberations on Monday.