A judge says three adults systematically brutalised a 15-year-old boy in their care by branding him with a heated metal ring and sticking drawing pins into his flesh.
They also shaved his head and drew swastikas on it and humiliated the boy by making him walk to the dairy.
In New Plymouth District Court yesterday, Landon Murray Wallace Boyce, 31, his partner, Jacinta Maria McMoses, 23, now of Opotiki, and Boyce's half-brother Bronson Leo Hovell, 28, were sentenced to 28 months in jail.
The three pleaded guilty to reduced charges on the morning of their trial in January, admitting they disfigured the boy with intent to injure him, a representative charge of assault with a weapon and common assault.
McMoses sobbed loudly in the dock as the brothers were first to be led downstairs.
Sources told the Taranaki Daily News the two men fought in the court cells after their sentencing.
Earlier, Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich called for a starting point between three and four years prison for the premeditated callousness and brutality against a vulnerable young victim.
The three took joy in taking turns to inflict pain on him yet not one was willing to put their hand up and say they did it, Marinovich said.
Defence lawyer Julian Hannam asked for a community-based sentence for Boyce. He and McMoses were now living a quite different and positive lifestyle. There were "glaring issues" with probation reports.
The two now had a 7-month-old, a 2-year-old and Boyce's 13-year-old son living with them in a stable environment.
Kelly Marriner asked that McMoses not be jailed because of the impact it would have on her two young children.
Patrick Mooney, for Hovell, said his client was not the boy's caregiver but was a visitor to the house on the occasions he took part in the offending and also asked for a community-based sentence.
Judge Allan Roberts described photos taken by McMoses when Boyce was engaging in acts of cruelty. They showed an obviously distressed victim, he said.
The boy wrote to the court how he felt like their slave. He was ordered to do chores, was hit, burned and stabbed with pins and made to stand to attention. He did not understand why they were "so mean".
It was particularly disturbing that McMoses took photos while the boy was being brutalised, being ordered to behave like a dog and stripped of any semblance of humanity. The judge saw the brothers in the lead roles and McMoses not far behind in inflicting the degrading and violent acts.
Their victim had been isolated and literally had no one to turn to.
After sentencing, Hannam asked for bail for Boyce before an appeal was lodged. This was refused.
- Taranaki Daily News
Should NPDC sell its Tasman farms?Related story: Tasman farms in black