Visitor no longer feels safe in NZ
New Zealand's reputation has been sullied in the eyes of an Indian student savagely beaten in a New Plymouth graveyard.
Solan Hoeta, 20, unemployed, pleaded guilty in the New Plymouth District Court on Friday to the aggravated robbery of the 26-year-old in the early hours of November 6 in the St Mary's Pro Cathedral grounds.
Arrested following the attack, Hoeta had admitted to police that he was the instigator of the beating which he said had been in retribution for the man's drunken "groping" of his sister and her friend in a city bar earlier in the night.
In sentencing Hoeta to 2 1/2 years in prison, Judge Bruce Davidson, of Wellington, said the sentence reflected the pre-meditated nature of the "joint escapade against a very vulnerable victim which had resulted in nasty injuries".
In his victim impact statement to the court, the Indian man had said he no longer felt safe in the centre of the city and feared that Hoeta and his friends would again attack him. "As a visitor from overseas it has left him with a bad impression of life in New Zealand," the judge said.
Earlier, Hoeta's counsel Paul Keegan said there was a degree of provocation in the attack as a result of the groping.
However, Hoeta had planned the attack, conscripting others to help lure his victim to the secluded graveyard.
He had admitted to police that he had wanted to get him for what he'd done earlier "and I wanted his nice flash stuff".
The lack of remorse outlined in Hoeta's pre-sentence report was because of Hoeta's lack of maturity and naivety, Mr Keegan said. Hoeta had since written a letter of apology for his actions.
The judge said that Hoeta had with others lured his victim into a secluded area and savagely beaten and robbed him of his watch, cellphone and wallet.
The beating left the man unconscious, with a deep cut to his chin and he had to be hospitalised.
"I have seen the aftermath in the photos today," the judge said.
Sadly, Hoeta had tended to blame the victim and his co-offenders but accepted that could be a reflection of his naivety and relative youth, Judge Davidson said.
Jayden Aldridge was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to assault with intent to injure, an assault on a female and common assault. He had punched his partner in the head several times and again offended while on bail. Judge Allan Roberts sent Aldridge to jail for one year.
Taranaki Daily News