Guilty pleas on prison gang attack charges

December 4, 2017 | By More

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

Three men have admitted a prison-yard gang attack that put two rivals in hospital with broken bones.

It is believed the fracas in the E Block exercise yard at Christchurch Men’s Prison was between groups with links to the Mongel Mob and Black Power.

Two men have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced on assault charges, but three more men were due to stand trial before Judge Tom Gilbert and a jury in the Christchurch District Court today.

Instead, agreement was reached between the defence and the Crown before the trio pleaded guilty to reduced charges. The trial then did not need to go ahead.

Jason Phillip Reweti, 35, a fibre optic technician from Spreydon, admitted a charge of injuring a man with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Adam Travis, 42, and Reggie Kenneth Roberts, 22, of Aranui, admitted joint charges of intentionally injuring a second man.

The men involved are serving prisoners. Reweti has already been jailed for his role in a Mongrel Mob kidnapping and bashing incident.

The Crown said that on June 26, 2016, five men including the three defendants were in the exercise yard about 9am, watching the other group across the yard.

Travis initiated the approach to the victims, with the others close behind him. He punched a rival, setting off the attack by the others.

Travis and Roberts punched one victim, with Roberts knocking him down with a blow to the jaw. When he got up and tried to walk away, Roberts charged at him and knocked him down a second time before Corrections officers intervened.

Surgery was needed for the victim’s broken jaw.

Reweti approached the other victim, isolating him in a corner of the yard where he punched him to the ground. He then held him down and punched him several times. Reweti then kicked him in the face and body, and stomped on his body.

He then punched him several times in the body as he tried to crawl away, before stomping on his lower left leg. That was followed by more punches, before the assault ended after 38 seconds – it was evidently caught on security camera.

That victim received a spiral fracture to the lower leg bones, and was hospitalised for surgery.

The three defendants who pleaded guilty declined to make any comment about the assaults.

Judge Gilbert remanded all three in custody for sentencing on February 7. He asked for pre-sentence reports and referred the case for possible restorative justice meetings with the victims.

He also asked for updated victim statements, though he said: “It may or may not be that that gets any traction.”

Judge Gilbert entered convictions for Reweti and Roberts, but delayed convicting Travis at the request of his defence counsel, Peter Doody.

Mr Doody said delaying his conviction would mean Travis would not be transferred from his present unit at the prison and he would be able to complete programmes and courses he is working on. He is attending a Stopping Violence programme and an alcohol and drug rehabilitation course, as well as two Open Polytechnic level two courses for a certificate in forklift driving and an introduction to engineering.

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