Attacks using dogs on Asian people walking in the streets of Christchurch have brought eight month jail terms for the owners and death for the dogs.
Those jailed were 18-year-old Phillipa Ann Parker and her ex-boyfriend Steven Brian Donaldson, 25, who both admitted the attacks had racial overtones.
Both say they have stopped associating with the group though Donaldson told the probation officer who reported on him before the sentencing that he did not see his association with right wing groups as being a risk factor.
Christchurch District Court Judge Colin Doherty said the victim impact statements from the three victims showed they had been understandably very frightened and continued to be frightened by people with dogs.
"Luckily they accept that what you have done is something out of character for the people of New Zealand."
Donaldson had admitted two charges of assault, and Parker admitted one charge of assault, and two charges of assault using dogs as weapons.
Defence counsel Angela Grant said Parker visited her dog every day in the pound until it was put down.
For Donaldson, Jeff McCall said his client had a real affection for his dog and did not consent to its destruction.
Judge Doherty made the order anyway. "It's not the dog's fault, but it seems to me it has been socialised into activities that could lead to greater risks in the future."
McCall said he accepted that racially based attacks were abhorrent to the community, but Donaldson had now ended his association with that group, and had got full time work where he was regarded as a trusted and valuable employee.
Grant said Parker's parents had travelled from Nelson to be at the sentencing. Parker and her parents were mortified by her behaviour.
"Her parents are grateful that she has managed to see the light, end her relationship, and end her association with undesirable persons. Her mother said that since being out of the relationship, her daughter has been pleasant, drinking less, working hard, and taking more responsibility."
Both offenders wrote letters to the judge and Parker also wrote letters apologising to the victims.
Judge Doherty said Parker had yelled abuse at a Vietnamese man, told her dog to kill him, punched him and tried to hit him with a beer bottle. When he took shelter in a shop she stomped on the bags of groceries he had dropped, threw items at the shop door, and yelled for him to go back to his own country.
A few months later, the pair met a man from the Philippines, and set their dogs on him in Lincoln Road, Addington. Parker let her dog off the leash to let it chase him. The dogs jumped up and tried to bite his shoulders, damaging his jacket, while he took shelter inside a property and then inside a flat.
A Japanese woman was then confronted nearby. The dogs were encouraged to attack her while she huddled in a corner, until other people arrived. The woman was taken to hospital for treatment for a bite wound and scratches.
Judge Doherty said: "The main purpose of the sentencing is deterrence."
He noted the special provisions of the Sentencing Act for racially motivated crimes.
He said Donaldson had two previous assault convictions, one of them using a dog as a weapon.
Parker had done a community work sentence for a drink-driving offence.
He noted Parker's mother had described her as "a nasty and hateful person" before she ended the associations she had at the time of the offending.
Jailing them both for eight months, Judge Doherty said: "Your actions haven't done New Zealand's image any credit at all in the international field."
Parker will have to abide by prison release conditions for six months after the sentence ends, and they each have to pay $125 for the damage to the Filipino man's jacket.
- The Press