Teen swung stick during street gang fracas

May 18, 2015 | By More

Court House-Sept-2013-07A teenager who struck a man over the head with a large stick during a gang confrontation in an Avonside street has admitted a charge of assault with a weapon and is awaiting sentence.

The brawl in Rowcliffe Crescent and Holland Avenue erupted on the evening of November 1 after members of the “Badways” street gang felt they had been disrespected by other residents, police said. One of the residents had laughed at them.

Caleb Whaanga, 17, a gardener who lives in Rowcliffe Crescent, today pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court to a reduced charge of assault with a weapon. He had previously been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, which carries a much heavier penalty.

Judge Paul Kellar remanded him on continued bail for sentencing on July 8. He asked for a pre-sentence report to cover Whaanga’s suitability for home or community detention.

Police said at the time that pot plants, a spade, a baseball bat, and part of a street sign had been used as weapons during the confrontation. One man has already pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to nine months’ home detention for intentionally injuring two men. Others are awaiting trial.

The brawl had already begun when Whaanga intervened. He tried to help two victims to get inside, away from the gang members, because he was friends with them. Police say gang members threw large terracotta pot plants at the victims when they reached their front porch of their house but could not get inside.

Whaanga, who has a link to the gang, tried to pull one of the gang members away from the victims.

When the gang members had left, after an unknown woman told them to leave, another woman asked neighbours for help.

That led a 40-year-old neighbour and his younger brother, to come out onto the road where they saw a group of young males holding weapons that looked like poles and sticks.

These two went back to their house and returned with a stick and a clamp in an attempt to confront the group and defuse the situation.

The gang members separated the brothers and began swinging weapons. Whaanga hit the 40-year-old victim over the back of his head with a large stick, knocking him unconscious. When he woke, he ran inside his house to call the police. The gang members then fled back to their address in Rowcliffe Crescent.

The victim was taken to hospital by ambulance, with a deep cut on the top of his head. He had lost a lot of blood and needed 11 stitches to close the wound.



Category: Focus

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