Gangs, girl feud ends in stabbing

23:00, Feb 19 2014

A love triangle involving a simmering feud between rival gang members escalated to the point where a man lost the use of his hand after being stabbed in the armpit with a flick knife, a court has heard.

Te Rehia Smaling, 18, is on trial in the Palmerston North District Court, charged with wounding Judah Stevens, 21, with reckless disregard.

The wounding, which Smaling does not deny but argues was in self defence, took place on June 22 last year in Alexander St, Palmerston North.

Yesterday, the court heard that Mr Stevens was in the room of Smaling's ex-partner Tia Tawharu, who lived in Alexander St. Mr Stevens was having a fling with Ms Tawharu.

There was a knock on the window that night. It was Smaling, and Mr Stevens went outside. The two faced off in the middle of the road. Mr Stevens was unarmed, while Smaling was holding a large pair of garden hedge clippers.

The two eventually went their separate ways - Mr Stevens went to a house and met a friend, while Smaling went to his house and armed himself with a flick knife. They both went back to Alexander St and spotted each other.


Mr Stevens, who was in a car with his friend and a woman, jumped out and ran after Smaling. Smaling tripped and fell outside Ms Tawharu's house, got up, turned around and stabbed Mr Stevens in the left armpit. Mr Stevens was taken to hospital and then flown to Hutt Hospital for surgery.

In the witness box, Mr Stevens said he could no longer move his left hand and wrist properly.

He admitted being a part of the Crips gang - which he described as a "crew" - and claimed Smaling was a member of the Mongrel Mob, because he walking around town wearing the gang's colour and yelling gang-related slogans.

Tensions between the two had been escalating before the stabbing for two main reasons: gang matters, and issues between the two involving Ms Tawharu, he said.

The trial before Judge David Smith and a jury of eight women and four men continues.

Manawatu Standard