Not guilty verdict in gang chase death

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2012

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A man who ran over and killed a 72-year-old man as he fled a beating at the hands of two Mongrel Mob members has been found not guilty of manslaughter.

Instead, Setephano Munokoa was last week found guilty of the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death.

Munokoa faced a jury trial in the High Court at Auckland charged with the manslaughter of Sione Lauano on June 4, 2011.

The Crown said Munokoa, 22, was part of South Auckland street gang HFK, which stands for Who F....... Cares?

On June 4, Munokoa went partying with four HFK friends and Munokoa, the sober driver, drove the men to get a cannabis tinnie from a dealer they knew called Fat Rob.

Fat Rob was not at his Vine St, Mangere, home but a Mongrel Mob party was in full swing.

Two patched Mongrel Mob members, Tauira Wong Tung, known as "Tau Dog", and Henry Lauano, "Henz Dog", ended up attacking the group after one of them insulted one of the Mobsters' girlfriends.

In the melee, Munokoa jumped in his car and accidentally ran over Lauano's father Sione who had appeared in the middle of the scene calling for everyone to stop fighting.

Munokoa and his friends jumped from the vehicle and ran from the scene leaving the car, running, on top of the elderly man.

Lauano died in hospital the next day.

Defence lawyer Shane Tait successfully argued his client was acting in self-defence.

Tait said the scene was heavier than the Crown made out: "This was not a Mongrel Mob picnic."

He said two crowbars, a pipe wrench and bolt cutters were involved in the assault on the car and the whole episode took "5.6 seconds".

The jury agreed and convicted Munokoa of the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death.

Munokoa will be sentenced on March 19.

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