A man whose “appalling” record of violent offending was the worst a judge had ever seen was jailed for five years nine months today.
Justin James Taia, 40, was being sentenced on a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injure after being found guilty by a Christchurch District Court jury.
Taia beat up a St Albans neighbour, Vaea Lam, so badly that he had serious head and brain injuries and had to have part of his skull removed, and he lost five teeth.
Crown prosecutor Deidre Orchard said the head injury almost resulted in Mr Lam’s death, and Taia had an extensive, very serious, and alarming history of violence.
Mr Lam was in court, and Taia called out, “Yeah but I didn’t start this, you should man-up man”.
Defence counsel Steven Hembrow said it was accepted by the defence that the degree of force used was clearly excessive even if there had been provocation.
He said Taia had ongoing counselling from ACC for the abuse he suffered as a child.
He said he was quick to anger, but the offending was not alcohol or drug induced.
Taia was willing to embrace psychological help in prison, and apologised to the court, Mr Hembrow said.
Taia wanted to put this behind him and was resolved to never get involved in anything of this nature in the future.
Judge Raoul Neave said Taia inflicted a vicious beating on a man who must have been on the ground for much of it, and Mr Lam may never recover full function.
Mr Lam’s victim impact report said he had short and long term memory loss and difficulty with balance. He was worried, tired, frustrated, and found it hard to carry on a conversation.
Judge Neave said Taia had an appalling background, and was very quick to perceive slights where none existed, and act with aggression and threats.
He said there was no evidence in the trial of provocation or aggression from Mr Lam.
Taia was a very dangerous person judging by past behaviour, and a general menace to the community.
The sustained violence was extreme, life threatening, and left significant permanent injuries, he said.
Even if there was provocation, Taia’s reaction in no way could ever have justified the attack, and Taia had the most appalling record for violence he had ever seen, with 16 previous violent convictions.