A judge has politely suggested that a man who played the role of “frightening gang muscle” in a stand-over incident, should return to his North Island iwi with his striking facial tattoos.
Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish asked the 50-year-old about his background and then suggested he return to his Ngati Tuwharetoa iwi in the Central North Island.
“Here, if you have got facial tattoos, you are not seen in a positive light, unfortunately,” she told Kenneth Daniel Hawkins as she jailed him for two years ten months on a robbery charge.
Hawkins had pleaded guilty and been remanded in custody for sentence.
He had become involved in an incident in April 2017 for which two women have already been prosecuted. One of the women had previously been in relationship with the victim. Arrangements were made for a visit from Hawkins, a Mongrel Mob member, to the victim’s Kaiapoi address to take property.
Hawkins went around wearing Mongrel Mob gang insignia, and demanded “money, tobacco, and drugs”. He left with a wallet.
Judge Farish said Hawkins had been asked to make the visit because people believed his appearance would be frightening. “You were obviously employed to be the muscle,” she said.
Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger handed the judge certificates for the courses and training Hawkins had done while in custody on remand. His notes from the prison describe him as a helpful and co-operative inmate.
He earned respect in prison, and had until recently kept secret the fact that he had a Tikanga Maori arts degree from Massey University in Palmerston North. Miss Bulger said: “This man obviously has the potential to make something of himself if he continues with his commitment to stay out of trouble once he is released.”
He had become involved in a situation that was of someone else’s making and it was not what he expected, she said, though she accepted it did not excuse his behaviour.
Judge Farish told Hawkins: “Your outward appearance does not reflect the man you really are.”
She noted his certificates for doing drug and alcohol courses, and a life skills programme, while on remand. She also noted that he had kept quiet about his Tikanga Maori university degree.
“Can I suggest that you embrace your heritage,” she said. “That will give you a way forward from the anti-social behaviour you have been exposed to for a long period.”
Hawkins should think about moving back to his North Island iwi, she suggested. She was told that he already had an enrolment pack for further studies.
She ordered him to pay $150 reparations for the wallet he took.