Maori race sentencing appeal dismissed

Last updated 11:44 13/12/2013
fabian jessie mika
PHOTO: TV3
RACE CARD: Fabian Jessie Mika, who argued in court that he should get a reduced sentence for killing a friend when he crashed a stolen car because he was Maori.

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An appeal by a Mongrel Mob member against his manslaughter sentence on the grounds that being Maori put him at a social disadvantage has been dismissed.

In the decision released today, the Court of Appeal dismissed Fabian Jessie Mika's appeal for an automatic 10 per cent reduction to his sentence because he is Maori.

Mika, who has been involved with a gang since he was 16 and has "Mobsta" tattooed across his face, was sentenced in September to six years and nine months' jail for causing the death of a teenage boy during a car chase in Canterbury.

The decision said all judges were acutely conscious of the economic, social and cultural disadvantages suffered by Maori, but that was no reason to reduce a sentence.

"We accept that those circumstances frequently contribute to offending," the decision says.

"But it does not logically follow that a person is more likely to be at a disadvantage and to offend simply by virtue of his or her Maori heritage.

"To some such a proposition may appear offensive."

An automatic sentence reduction based on ethnicity would be something only Parliament could sanction through legislature, the decision said.

His background could have been addressed before the sentence but Mika's lawyer, James Rapley, had not called on anyone to speak to this, the decision said.

Mika killed a 15-year-old boy when he crashed a stolen vehicle in Bromley on February 22.

A court was told that Ethan Takitimu-McKenzie, a passenger in the crashed car, was left lying in the grass to die of massive head and chest injuries.

Mika admitted the manslaughter charge, failing to stop for police, failing to ascertain injury after an accident and being an unlicensed driver.

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