Testicle squeezer avoids jail term

By Michele McPherson

Two Opotiki brothers who claim to have broken away from gang life after attacking Ministry of Fisheries officers were sentenced on assault charges in Tauranga District Court this week.
Steven Warren, 28, appeared having already pleaded guilty to running at a fisheries officer and grabbing, squeezing and twisting a second officer's testicles.
His brother, Joseph Warren, 23, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and escaping custody.
The court heard the brothers, both Mongrel Mob members, were caught with under-sized paua at a Fisheries checkpoint two years ago when they became abusive towards the officers.
Defence counsel Gene Tomlinson said Steven Warren had since made remarkable changes in his life, including breaking away from the gang he was involved in at the time.
Judge Louis Bidois said the seriousness of the men's actions - assaulting and threatening officers of the law - needed to be reflected in their sentencing. However, a prison term was not best suited.
"There are indications that you have both broken away from the gang you previously associated with, and that will be best served with a sentence of home detention instead of prison - where your safety may be compromised or your allegiance to that gang may be strengthened."
Steven Warren was sentenced to four months' home detention and 140 hours' community work at Tuesday's hearing.
Joseph Warren was sentenced to two-and-a-half months' home detention and did not receive additional community work, as he already had more than 200 hours outstanding for other unrelated matters.
The men also face charges of obstructing Fisheries officers, which will be dealt with in Opotiki on January 27.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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