Men told to ‘step away’ from gang

Three men have been urged to stay clear of the Mongrel Mob or face a difficult future and likely jail time, at their sentencing for what began as a gang stand-over incident.

All three were given community-based sentences by Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish after the Crown agreed to drop the most serious charge – aggravated robbery – and after they had all served time in custody on remand.

They were arrested after an incident in Rangiora in May, which led to police raids where firearms and drugs were found.

Cai Evans, 22, had admitted unlawful possession of a pistol, possession of cannabis and a class B drug, and breaches of an earlier intensive supervision sentence.

Jac Rhys Howells, 21, admitted two charges of possession of cannabis, trespassing at his parents’ home, driving while suspended, dangerous driving, and failing to stop for the police.

Heremai Steven Te Wake, 31, admitted charges of assault, possession of cannabis, and unlawful possession of two rifles.

The trio went to a house in central Rangiora, where they were friends with the resident.

The Crown said Te Wake was a patched member of the Mongrel Mob and Evans was a gang prospect.

They went into the house and Te Wake repeatedly asked the victim for all his money and drugs. When he wasn’t given any, he punched the victim twice in the face and told him he would keep punching until he gave him money.

The victim went to the lounge and got $40 from his father and gave it to Te Wake. The three men then left. The victim was checked by the St John Ambulance because he had bruising and swelling to his face, and a sore mouth. He had memory black-outs and thought he lost consciousness.

Defence counsel Rachel Wood and Andrew McKenzie said their clients Te Wake and Evans had turned their back on their gang connections. Kiran Paima urged that his client Howells be given a community work sentence to enable him to return to work in the construction industry.

Judge Farish said: “Both Mr Evans and Mr Howells will have to make sure they step away from the Mongrel Mob or their good intentions will go out the window.”

She told Te Wake that he now needed to set a good example for his 11-year-old son by moving away from anti-social activities.

Judge Farish gave Howells 40 hours of community work, and if he does most of that by January 18 – to prove he can do it – she will not disqualify him from driving but will give him more community work instead.

She sentenced Te Wake to 100 hours of community work.

Evans was also being resentenced for possession of ecstasy, unlawfully taking a car, breaches of community work and supervision, drink-driving, possession of cannabis, and dishonestly accessing a computer – a supervision sentence he had breached.

The judge released him again under intensive supervision for a year and said she would monitor him with three-monthly reports. He will be assessed for an alcohol and drugs rehabilitation programme, and will have to attend treatment and counselling as directed.

She ordered destruction of all the firearms, ammunition, and drugs the police found.