'Solid' jail time awaits if thug commits more crime

A Northland man who punched and kicked another in an incident a judge described as "street thuggery" was already on bail for similar violent offences.

Tyson Epiha, 25, of Takahiwai, appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court this week on charges of assault and intent to injure.

Judge Russell Callender said a message needed to be sent not only to Epiha but those in the community who thought such violence was acceptable.

"This is street thuggery that we sadly see more of these days," Judge Callender said.

"Normally you would go to jail but this isn't going to happen because you were given a sentence indication."

Lawyer, Wiremu Puriri, said his client, Epiha, had pleaded guilty to the charges on the second day of a jury trial as new charges were presented earlier this year.

A sentence indication was given at the time home detention was a likely outcome.

Judge Callender said Epiha was with a group that set upon another. Epiha had assaulted a man who ended up on the ground. Epiha continued to hit and kick him around the body.

A probation report said Epiha was a medium risk of reoffending but was a risk to others, given he had previous convictions for similar offending.

He was given a warning by Judge Callender: "If you come back again you will get a good, solid term of imprisonment that will wake you up and realise this kind of thug behaviour is not going to be tolerated in our world."

Epiha was sentenced to seven months' home detention on both charges. Special release conditions included attending a violence-prevention programme.

- Northern Advocate

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