An egg-throwing prank spiralled out of control for a group of Flaxmere schoolgirls who were caught, kidnapped and assaulted by the residents of a home they egged last July.
Malia Asoepesio Mafi, 50, and Lupe Pailate, 26, appeared at the Napier District Court yesterday and were sentenced to community work and community detention after admitting charges of kidnapping and assault on a child.
The two were part of a trio of women who over-reacted on July 30, 2011, when a group of five girls threw two eggs at a ranch slider then fled.
Angry and concerned for her fragile mother, who had recently suffered a heart attack, Mafi and her two daughters Lupe Pailate and Angelica Pailate got in their car to go looking for the perpetrators.
While driving they came across the group and grabbed a 12-year-old girl and, while the rest fled, manhandled her into the car where they threatened and slapped her in the face. She was also punched and kicked.
They took off with her still in the vehicle and came across two more of the girls involved. Again Lupe and Angelica Pailate got out, this time a second 12-year-old and a 11-year-old were dragged by their hair into the car.
One of them was also kneed in the head.
After this the trio then stopped at the Flaxmere Community Policing Station to hand the girls over.
The station was empty, so they kept them captive, taking them back to their home for about half an hour.
From there Mafi called the police and was told they could not keep the girls and to release them.
"Stuff like that happens in Flaxmere every day," the 12-year-old complainant's mother said outside court. "But you don't go jumping in your car and beating up children. I'm glad justice was served. I wish they could have got a bit more, but I'm glad it has been served."
She knew the residents involved as she lived around the corner from them. It was her daughter and two nieces who were the victims.
"The victim impact statements from each of the three girls shows this was particularly distressing and upsetting," Judge Bridget Mackintosh said. "I have no doubt, that for them, it was a very traumatic incident."
It was a situation that had spiralled out of control but she accepted Mafi and Lupe Pailate had recognised their behaviour was completely inappropriate.
In light of the three strikes rule it was a example of how something "relatively innocuous has been elevated into something very, very, serious", the judge said.
Angelica Pailate was not sentenced yesterday so electronic monitoring could be considered.
Kidnapping carries a maximum punishment of 14 years imprisonment, but Judge Mackintosh and defence lawyers Amit Malik and Tony Snell said there were no cases the court could refer to.
"Despite a detailed search there are no cases that counsel could find that were similar or on par with this," Mr Snell said. "It does not fit the mould for a kidnapping type of case."
He called for a community-based sentence because of Lupe Pailate's early guilty plea, remorse, a track record of employment and her role as primary breadwinner for her family.
Mr Malik said Mafi needed to be home to care for her mother, and was at a low risk of reoffending.
The pair were sentenced to community detention for three months and 130 hours community work. Mafi would also be under supervision for six months.By Corey Charlton of Hawke's Bay Today