Harawira nephews guilty of iPod bashing

ROB KIDD
Last updated 15:52 04/07/2013

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Two nephews of MP Hone Harawira have been found guilty of fracturing a man's cheek and eyesocket while drunkenly robbing him of his iPod.

Another of his nephews was acquitted on that charge, but found guilty of assaulting two witnesses to stop them informing police.

Tohora Harawira, Enesi Taito and Wikatana Popata were accused of beating up the man on a street in the Auckland suburb of Avondale, robbing him and assaulting bystanders so they would not "nark" on them.

Harawira and Taito were found guilty of a charge of aggravated robbery, while Popata was found guilty of two charges of assault.

The victim, Joseph Harper, was walking along Great North Rd on an August night in 2011.

He was listening to the band, The Arcade Fire, on his iPod, minding his business, when three men standing near a car started yelling at him and following him.

He crossed to a bus stop where people were waiting for a bus, but the men pursued him.

One of the men, who the Crown says was Harawira, punched Harper to the ground.

He said the men pulled him up off the ground and in "condescending voices as if they were speaking to a child" said "it's all right, it's all right, bro" as they took his iPod off him.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said in opening that Popata approached three schoolboys who witnessed the attack and hit two of them across the face.

He said "don't nark on us", "don't snitch" and "we will find you".

One of the schoolboys who was attacked testified that the third man, Taito, was dancing around in the background encouraging the violence by saying, "Yeeeaaah".

Harper said he took refuge in the car of a father and son who had stopped to assist.

He told the court his eyesocket was broken, a cheek fractured and he had nerve damage to his face.

McCoubrey said police located the three men soon after.

Harawira allegedly told police they had drunk several boxes of beer.

"I'm too drunk. I honestly can't remember what's happening," he told police.

Harawira and Popata were remanded on bail while Taito was remanded in custody until they are sentenced in September.

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- Fairfax Media

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