Bailed man arrested

A man alleged to be part of last year's riot at Spring Hill prison in Waikato has been arrested for new offending in Stratford.

Matthew Ross Ratu, 35, of Stratford, appeared in the Hawera District Court yesterday on charges of robbery and assault with intent to injure.

The charges arise from an incident in Stratford on May 28 when Ratu is alleged to have assaulted and robbed a man of a cellphone.

He was described as a "career criminal" by Judge Allan Roberts when he was sentenced in the New Plymouth District Court to three years' jail on charges of burglary and money laundering in May last year.

At the time of his arrest, Ratu was also on electronic bail for a charge of riotously destroying property in the June 1 riot at Spring Hill prison. The riot, which involved 23 prisoners, resulted in $10 million of damage to the facility.

Duty solicitor Paul Keegan said Ratu consented to a remand in custody, and that a legal aid application would be completed in the meantime.

The judge remanded Ratu in custody and he will re-appear in the Hawera District Court next Wednesday.

Taranaki Daily News