Unprovoked attack earns offender jail sentence

By Imran Ali


A judge has sent a man to jail for chasing a man coming out of a church meeting, pulling him over and punching him twice in the face.

Judge John McDonald rejected a recommendation for a non-custodial sentence for Piripi Gilbert, 21, and ordered that he serve nine months behind bars.

Gilbert appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court on Tuesday after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of assault and one of breach of bail.

The judge told defence lawyer Leon Pene that he would have to convince him why he shouldn't send a man to prison for chasing the innocent man.

About 8pm on July 10, last year, Judge McDonald said the victim left a church meeting in Tikipunga and drove past a car Gilbert and a female driver were in that was parked part-way in the driveway with its headlights off.

The victim did not hit the other car but Gilbert took exception and gave chase.

When the victim pulled over, Gilbert swore at him and accused him of nearly crashing into his car before punching him twice on his face.

Judge McDonald said he only stopped after the female driver dragged him away.

Gilbert denied his actions when questioned by police and claimed he was at a party with friends in Maunu when the incident happened.

In his victim impact statement, the complainant said people like Gilbert shouldn't be allowed on the road and wondered what would have happened if a 70-year-old grandmother had been treated in a similar way.

Judge McDonald said assaulting innocent people was an inappropriate way to act in society and that Gilbert was extremely lucky he was only charged with assault.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Peter Rankin said given Gilbert's history of violence, a punitive element to sentencing was needed.

Gilbert was convicted of assaulting a female in 2009 and 2010 respectively and was sent to prison a year later on charges of robbery and common assault.

 

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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