'Primitive, disgraceful' attack

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 14/07/2012
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Black Power gang regalia

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A pack of "cowardly hyenas" staked out a woman's home and then viciously assaulted her – all because she was wearing the wrong gang colour, a Taranaki judge said.

In New Plymouth District Court yesterday Hawera beneficiary Yahanna Karaitiana, 25, was jailed for her role in leading the attack.

The court heard the four women in their 20s, associates of Black Power, set upon the woman in front of her children when she returned home from the pub at 2am on January 13.

"This targeted assault has clear Black Power connections. The puerile focus on the colour of clothing ... leaves me in no doubt that gang affiliations underpin this," Judge Allan Roberts said.

The Black Power gang's colour is blue; the Mongrel Mob's is red.

The judge said the women took turns to inflict blows and the attack continued when their victim fell to the ground.

They ripped her top, chipped one of her teeth and covered her arms and legs with grazes.

"This occurred, disgracefully, in front of her children who came to assist their mother as you and your cowardly associates beat her," Judge Roberts said.

Karaitiana's lawyer said her client took full responsibility for her actions and she accepted she had alcohol problems.

She was unable to pay emotional harm reparation because she and her family were beneficiaries, the lawyer said.

"It is rich indeed you are an unemployed woman yet you are drinking with associates at the White Hart in Hawera," the judge responded.

The lead-up to the attack occurred earlier in the night when the victim was at the White Hart Hotel in Hawera where she was enjoying karaoke.

The victim was accused by the Black Power women that she was somehow attached to the Mongrel Mob, the judge said.

"It wasn't good enough for you and the hyenas you drank with that she told you she wasn't."

Soon after, Karaitiana pretended to befriend the woman while they were in the hotel toilets, asking where she lived.

The group then laid in wait at the victim's house, waiting for her return home before attacking her.

Making matters worse was that Karaitiana, who was already doing community work as a result of earlier offending, had only completed 18 of 160 hours' community work since January, the judge said.

She had not turned up at a restorative justice meeting with her victim and failed to appear in court on June 6 for sentencing.

Judge Roberts sentenced Karaitiana to a total of seven months' jail for the assault and breaches, telling her she was fortunate she was only facing a charge of common assault for the "primitive and disgraceful incident".

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On release she was ordered to attend rehabilitative programmes including drug and alcohol abuse counselling.

One of the other female attackers received 270 hours' community work and paid the victim $400 in emotional harm, a second received 125 hours' community work while the third, who paid $300, was given a nine-month good behaviour bond.

- Taranaki Daily News

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