Facebook jail pics throw doubt on offender's vow

ROB KIDD
Last updated 10:46 25/07/2014

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Papa Kakerua's Facebook photos from prison

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A violent offender wrote a last-minute letter to a judge vowing to turn his life around - but his Facebook page showed he was a little more at home in prison than he let on.

Papa Kakerua, 20, was last month  jailed for nearly two years after admitting his role in a home invasion in which a woman was stabbed through the hand and a man was savagely beaten.

The Papakura man had only been out of prison for three months after similar offending when the incident happened in September last year, and he was on release conditions at the time.

During his sentencing at Manukau District Court, his lawyer Annabel Ives said Kakerua had strong family support and was looking to leave the negative influence of his South Auckland associates behind.

Like many offenders looking at time behind bars, he gave a letter to Judge Gerard Winter apologising to his victims and to society as a whole.

Judges are able to discount sentences for ''exceptional remorse''.

''I have now spent far to long in prison for my age and am now determined to turn my life around (sic),'' Kakerua wrote. ''I am now a father so I need to set a good example for my child.''

However, Kakerua's Facebook page told a slightly different story.

The page features several photos, from as recently as the start of June, in which the incarcerated 20-year-old posed for snaps in various areas of Mt Eden Corrections Facility.

Most of the pictures showed Kakerua with other inmates giving the middle finger while a couple showed the offender shirtless in his cell.

A spokeswoman for Serco - which runs the prison - confirmed the photos were taken at the Mt Eden facility.

''Prisoners are not permitted any access to the internet, including email and social media,'' she said.

''We are committed to preventing attempts to smuggle contraband into MECF and we have robust search, detection and deterrent processes.

''Prisoners found with contraband should expect to face internal disciplinary charges and loss of privileges. Visitors smuggling contraband are breaking the law and liable to prosecution.''

Serco would not comment on whether Kakerua's photos would result in any disciplinary action.

In the 2012-2103 financial year Corrections found 274 cellphones unlawfully held by prisoners or brought in by visitors.

They also confiscated 119 phone batteries, 128 chargers and 151 SIM cards.

At his sentencing, the court was told that at 10pm on September 19, Kakerua and his co-offender 21-year-old Safale Ofoia knocked on the door of an Otara property.

The man who answered the door was immediately attacked by Kakerua while Ofoia went inside brandishing a large kitchen knife.

Ofoia snatched a bag off one woman, punched her in the face and turned his attention to her friend, lunging at her with the knife.

The blade went right through her hand as she tried to protect her face.

After beating the man with a steel bar, the two offenders ran off.

They were later found by a police dog unit.

The male victim needed stitches to close wounds on his head and shoulder, while the woman needed surgery to repair nerve damage to her hand.

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Ofoia was jailed for four years and Kakerua for 22 months.

- Stuff

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