No complaints from prison bashing victim

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A gang bashing in Christchurch Men’s Prison only involved one gang – and the victim declined to make a complaint and refused medical treatment.

However, the January 16 fracas in the exercise area at the prison’s Rawhiti wing was all caught on security video and the police laid charges.

Defence counsel Alister James, acting for one of those involved, told the Christchurch District Court: “They all belong to the same gang, including the victim.”

The hearing at which four men pleaded guilty to charges of assault with intent to injure, was not told the name of the gang involved.

The four were all remanded in custody for sentencing on June 28. Judge Alistair Garland asked for pre-sentence reports and referred the case for a possible restorative justice meeting.

Such a meeting – if it could take place – would involve gang members getting together to offer apologies.

Resham Toa Blake-Faatafa, 22, of Milburn in Otago, Joseph Regan Andy Epiha, 30, of Invercargill, Riapo Piripi Tipene, 21, also of Milburn, and Charles John Tawha, 24, of no fixed abode in Christchurch, all pleaded guilty.

They are all serving prisoners. Judge Garland noted that Epiha was already serving a term for serious violence.

Police said the men were in the exercise yard at 1.40pm when there was an altercation in the shower area of the yard. The victim crawled away underneath a shower screen and moved to the other side of the yard.

Blake-Fataafa went over and punched the victim several times and then the others joined in, punching, kneeing, and kicking the victim for 25 seconds until he collapsed to the ground. The attackers then walked away.

Police said the victim declined to make a complaint or discuss the incident with Corrections staff or the police. He also refused medical treatment.

A fifth man has also been charged with the assault. He appeared by video-link from Auckland Prison, and was remanded to April 19 without plea.

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