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Harawira nephews accused of mugging man for iPod

By Edward Gay

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Three men - including two nephews of Mana Party leader Hone Harawira - are alleged to have attacked a man at a bus stop for his iPod before hitting school boys and telling them "not to nark".

Tohara Harawira and Enesi Zane Brooks Taito - together with Wikatana Popata - are charged with aggravated robbery. Popata faces two extra charges of aggravated assault.

Their jury trial began at the Auckland District Court today where all three pleaded not guilty.

Joseph Harper told the court he was listening to his iPod as he walked down a street in the West Auckland suburb of Avondale in August last year.

Three men were standing by a car and one yelled out: "stop, come over here" as he walked past.

But Mr Harper said he started to run across the road and headed towards a bus stop where other people were.

The three men followed.

One threw a punch which missed him but a second one connected with his face.

Mr Harper said he fell down and saw another man go through his bag.

"In a condescending way, as if speaking to a child, he said: 'oh, its all right, bro. It's all right'."

Mr Harper said he was pulled up and one of the men took his iPod before they headed back to their car.

He said a father and son pulled up in a car and told him to get in and they followed the three men until police turned up.

Mr Harper was later taken to hospital where he was treated for a broken eye socket and cheek bone. He also suffered concussion.

He said the attack has left him with ongoing nerve damage to the side of his face.

Mr Harper confirmed to Harawira's lawyer Isaac Koya that he did not stop the man taking his iPod.

The court has also heard from two schoolchildren who were at the bus stop.

One said he was with two of his friends after finishing a dance practice at Avondale College when he saw three men following Mr Harper.

He said he did not see any punches but heard a "scuffle" on the other side of the bus stop.

It was then that one of the men approached his group and asked if they were girls before slapping his friends in the face.

Another student said he saw one of the men repeatedly punching Mr Harper while another "egged them on".

"We just stood there in shock, we felt it was a joke at first."

He said the men approached them afterwards.

"They said if we said anything they'd get us ... I was worried at the time - I seen what happened to the boy and I thought What was going to stop them doing that to us?"

Under cross-examination from Taito's lawyer Cameron Robertson, the witness said he saw "eight or nine" punches.

He denied suggestions from Harawira's lawyer Isaac Koya that he was making his story up.

Earlier in his opening address to the court, Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said police found Mr Harper's iPod when they pulled Harawira, Taito and Popata over.

The trial continues.

- APNZ

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