Pack rapists get between 11 and 13 years

By Jill Nicholas


Five Tauranga men who texted each other about putting a woman "on the block" have received hefty prison sentences for pack raping a woman at Pyes Pa in September 2011.


They are Samuel Owen Weenink, 20, Corey Clinton Owens, 20, Richard James Cameron Morton, Paul McMaster and Dylan John O'Neill, all 21.

They were found guilty in October by a jury in the High Court at Rotorua of rape and being a party to rape.

When they appeared in the same court on Friday Justice Raynor Asher sentenced Weenink, Owens, and O'Neill to 12 years, nine months; McMaster for 13 years; and Morton for 11 years, four months. He did not impose the maximum prison terms Crown prosecutor Greg Hollister-Jones sought.

The judge told McMaster he was receiving the longer sentence because he had punched the victim when she bit him.

Morton's lesser sentence was because he had been found guilty of being a party to the other's offending after a rape charge against him was withdrawn, the judge said. This followed evidence that he'd been physically unable to have full sex with her, instead he'd forced her to do another sexual act.

The court heard Weenink, a national skiing rep, had videoed the rape which he described in a text message.

Justice Asher rejected Mr Hollister-Jones' contention that when the five were texting each other earlier on September 4, 2011, with references to putting a woman "on the block", they were referring to a pack rape.

"I am unsatisfied when you were talking about 'on the block' you were talking about deliberately raping her," the judge said.

However, his view was the five had decided on a clear course of criminal conduct "in the cold light of that Sunday night your intention to force yourselves on her was more spontaneous".

He said the five had done terrible harm to their victim who they had invited around for a night of drinking and socialising. When she returned from having a cigarette, she had been grabbed, her arms pinned and her clothes removed. The multiple rapes had followed.

Justice Asher noted the woman had suffered multiple bruises on the chest, arms and legs and mouth.

He said her victim impact statement told of how she had to take nine months' off work to recover and had been forced to leave Tauranga because she felt ostracised by her community.

Weenink's lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, submitted he had represented New Zealand skiing, at 20 owned his own home and was on track to take over the family business.

Appearing for Owens, Tony Balme urged the judge to take into account Peter Gluckman's recent findings that brains weren't fully developed until the age of 25.

The lawyers acting for the other men emphasised each was young, employed and with good future prospects.

At the lengthy sentencing's outset, the judge told the crammed public gallery interruptions would not be tolerated, warning that if anyone did interrupt they would be immediately removed.

A large contingent of police and security officers flanked the gallery escorting out one man when his cellphone beeped.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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