Jailed for fence assault

Last updated 18:51 14/07/2014

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A gang member who struck Tauranga man Lance Scullin with a fence paling has been sentenced to 12 months jail.

Scullin, 50, was found dead in the backyard of his home the day after the November 30 assault.

Mihaka Ratahi, 22, unemployed, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court today after earlier pleading guilty to assault with a weapon and unlawful assembly, Sunlive.co.nz reports.

Ratahi admitted to assaulting Scullin with a piece of wood outside the victim’s home.

According to the summary of facts, Scullin had gone to the aid of another Merivale resident when he was assaulted by a group about 10pm.

The father of five and Merivale Neighbourhood Support Group co-ordinator was found dead by neighbours the following morning.

The assault – a blow to the head – was not considered medically linked to his death.

Judge Philip Cooper declined a defence application for a community detention, community work and supervision.

He sentenced Ratahi to 12 months jail on the assault charge, plus four months for unlawful assembly.

With 25 percent, or four months, discounted for the early guilty plea, 12 months jail was the final sentence.

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