Punch-up ends in jail term

A Blenheim man punched another man repeatedly in the head and then chased his victim in the victim's car when he fled.

In Blenheim District Court on Monday, Dion Aramakutu, 24, admitted common assault, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and three breaches of release conditions and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Judge Paul Whitehead said the charges stemmed from an incident in June, when Aramakutu was associating with people he was not allowed to meet with under the conditions of his release from prison earlier this year.

Aramakutu and the group invited another man to come to an address where they were drinking, but things soon began to get out of hand, he said.

Aramakutu had got hold of the victim's car keys without him knowing and then asked if he could borrow the car, but the victim got angry at having his keys taken, the judge said.

Aramakutu pushed the man and demanded he take him to a bottle store, he said.

The pair argued before the victim eventually got into the driver's seat of his car and Aramakutu got into the passenger seat. Without warning, Aramakutu began punching the man in the head and then followed him in the car when he ran off, the judge said.

Aramakutu had a long history of violent offending and had ties with the Mongrel Mob, he said.

He showed no remorse, was unwilling to comply with a community-based sentence and was assessed as medium to high risk of offending, Judge Whitehead said.

He said Aramakutu had been in custody for about three months since his arrest on June 26 meaning, given the time he had already served, he was likely to be released in the next few weeks.

Also appearing in Blenheim District Court on Monday:

Aaron Joseph Tapp, 21, of Blenheim, admitted a charge of sustained loss of traction and was fined $350 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Lucas said Tapp was caught by a nearby police officer who heard the sound of him spinning his tyres for about 10 seconds while driving in Henderson St, Auckland, on June 29.

The Marlborough Express