Lance Scullin accused admits assault

By Sandra Conchie -
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One of the two men accused of attacking Merivale father Lance Scullin with a piece of wood the night before he was found dead near his home has admitted the assault.

Mihaka Ratahi, 21, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a blunt instrument, namely a piece of wood when he appears in Tauranga District Court today, but denied a joint charge of participating in an organised criminal group.

Mr Scullin, 50, was found dead in the yard of his Kesteven Rd property on December 1.
Police say Mr Scullin was assaulted with a wooden fence paling while trying to break up a fight outside his house the night before. The exact cause of his death is still to be determined.

Ratahi was further remanded on bail pending sentencing on February 13.

He is also due back in court on March 11 for a case review hearing in relation to the denied offence.

Another Tauranga man Anthony Jack Taikato, 32, also charged with assaulting Mr Scullin, earlier denied charges of assault with intent to injure and participating in an organised criminal group.

Three other men also faces charges stemming from the same incident.

Lance Perawiti, 19, denied a joint charge of participating in an organised criminal group when he appeared in Tauranga District Court today.

Perawiti, and the other alleged members of the criminal group Zodiac Wiremu Taikato, 20, and Shem Williams, 21, earlier denied the same charge.

They also plan to defend the allegation at trial.

Their next court appearance are on March 11 for a case review hearing.

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