Two men were sentenced to jail yesterday for their part in a violent group assault and kidnapping after a drug deal went wrong.
Samuel Gordon Coupe, 29, glazier, of Invercargill, and Jonathan Charles Burke, 26, of Arrowtown, appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips in Queenstown District Court.
Coupe previously entered guilty pleas to an amended aggravated assault charge, with intent to commit a crime, namely theft by violent means, rendering Jason Maynard, of Cromwell, incapable of resistance, and assaulting a female, on November 26. He was jailed for two years and nine months and ordered to pay $3000 to the victims.
Burke, who previously entered a guilty plea to the aggravated assault charge, was sentenced to two years and three months' jail and ordered to pay $3000 to the victim.
Daniel John Kissell, 28, draughtsman, of Lower Shotover, appeared separately on a charge of aggravated assault.
He was sentenced to eight months' home detention, 300 hours' community work and ordered to pay $5000 reparation.
The court was told a group in a bar in Queenstown agreed to buy ecstasy but were "ripped off".
They went to a Frankton house, where they discussed finding the supplier and getting their money back. Coupe found a balaclava, a hunting knife and a machete, and the group, who discussed bringing firearms, arranged to meet Maynard at the Crown Range intersection.
There, Kissell and a disguised Coupe were the first to approach the victim, who was punched by Coupe.
A woman was also assaulted, then a group attacked Maynard, who was punched in the face and upper body. He was headbutted, went to the ground, was punched and kicked in the face then headbutted, punched and kicked again.
Coupe left and returned to the house, where he stored weapons and burned his clothes, while others went to Burke's house after Maynard was bundled into a car and dumped at the side of a road.
"You knew exactly what you had done and you knew exactly how much trouble you were in," Judge Phillips said.
He wished to make it clear that Burke was not part of the punching and kicking, and Coupe was not part of the group who bought drugs. In sentencing Coupe, the judge said: "You had the sense not to collect firearms. You went to the supplier wearing a balaclava with weapons ... you destroyed clothing."
In sentencing Burke, he said the incident was a classic drug deal gone wrong and while Burke was not part of the group assault, he must have known what was happening.
"You must have seen disguises and must have seen the weapon. You must have been able to assess other people and their gung-ho attitude. You knew violence was going to be part of it."
In sentencing Kissell, Judge Phillips said some of the group felt they were ripped off because the tablets tasted like flour mixed with brown sugar.
"The fact is you were the first of the group to approach the drug seller. You pushed him and he was struck ... and there was an attack on him."
There was a chaotic scene with everyone striking Maynard during a ferocious attack.
"I have to denounce and deter this vigilante violence in response to a drug deal gone wrong," Judge Phillips said.
The attack was cowardly and the victim had suffered sleeplessness, serious bruising to his face, two black eyes, cuts and abrasions.
- The Southland Times