A man who killed a father of three with a single punch has had his parole bid rejected because of concerns he is prospecting for the Mongrel Mob while in jail.
Jonathan Ioata lost his second bid for early release recently, with the Parole Board concerned he may have been "running around for the Mob" in jail, which he disputed. He told the board he was not "prospecting" for the Mob and had positive plans for when he was freed.
Ioata, 25, was sentenced in December 2012 to four years and nine months' jail for the manslaughter of Filipo Sipaia in Pomare, Lower Hutt, in 2010. The attack happened during a confrontation between two groups in High St, Pomare, on August 13, 2010. Ioata swung at Sipaia, hit him and knocked him to the ground.
Sipaia hit his head and never regained consciousness. He died in hospital when his life support was turned off the next day.
During sentencing, Justice Collins said his death was caused either by the punch, hitting his head, or a combination of the two.
The punch was unnecessary and gratuitous, and intended to cause serious harm.
He said Ioata was sadly typical of many young men in New Zealand - with a poor upbringing, limited education, alcohol problems and a testosterone-fuelled belief in being bulletproof.
Despite the conviction, Sipaia's widow, Fei, and mother, Nuuao, both forgave Ioata during the sentencing. Fei Sipaia said she did not hate him for what he had done.
"I forgive you for your actions that night, I hope you can forgive yourself," she said in a victim impact statement.
Ioata was the last client represented by top defence lawyer Greg King before his death, three days after the verdict.
In addition to concerns over the Mob links, the Parole Board said Ioata was still an undue risk to the safety of the community. However, parole should be reconsidered in six months rather than the usual year's gap between hearings.
He may be eligible for release to work and possibly home leave, the board said. During time in jail Ioata had completed rehabilitation and substance dependency programmes and generally shown good behaviour.
It was his first jail term, he had a minimum security classification, and was working in the prison kitchen.
- The Dominion Post