Partygoer sentenced for waving air rifle

By Michele Hunter

A Tauranga man in court for pointing an air rifle at a group of partygoers this year was reminded by a judge of the recent Norway massacre to illustrate the seriousness of brandishing a gun.
Regan Tamati Taigel, 24, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court to six months supervision and 300 hours community work having earlier pleaded guilty to one charge each of unlawful possession of a firearm and presenting a firearm at a person.
"I'm aware of some personal circumstances in your life which I'm not going to detail in open court which I am prepared to take into account but you and everyone else in this country should be well aware of the recent huge world tragedy overseas involving a madman masked as a police officer to gain people's trust firing at them and killing many people," Judge Oke Blaikie said.
"I know that is something you did not intend to do but presenting a firearm at anyone is a dangerous thing to do and a very serious matter."
At 6.30pm, on March 26, Taigel arrived at the party on Oxford St, Merivale, but left after an argument and returned with the .177 calibre air rifle with a scope.
He stood at the gate waving the rifle in the air, then put the rifle stock against his shoulder and pointed it towards the partygoers.
Partygoers screamed and ran off, before a member of the party escorted Taigel back to his home where he was found by the Armed Offenders Squad a short time later.
Taigel denied pointing the rifle at anyone and told police he had pointed it at the sky. He said he had became angry after someone put their hand in his pocket.
He had taken the rifle around to the party to "put the fears into them".

His lawyer, Michael Toner, told Judge Blaikie that Taigel acknowledged the seriousness of his offending. Mr Toner said Taigel was "not a confident person" and the consumption of alcohol seemed to give him more confidence in a social environment.
"Mr Taigel, what makes this incident and the charges you face and your behaviour so concerning is that you were clearly angry at the party and had been drinking and were obviously still angry when you returned to the party with the firearm. You say you did not point it at anyone but given the state of your intoxication I have trouble accepting your denial," Judge Blaikie said.
In imposing six months supervision and 300 hours community work the judge had taken into account Taigel's "vulnerable health issues". The judge ordered the destruction of the air rifle.
Two years ago, a resident's survey dubbed Oxford St the most dangerous street in the area.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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