When things started to derail for Seddon Harlem Beazley he didn't turn to his loving family, instead he sought a new family in the form of the Mongrel Mob gang.
But, in the end, it was the love of his mother that saved him from taking the rap for a murder charge.
Beazley, 22, appeared in the High Court at Whangarei yesterday for sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Lawyer Arthur Fairley said, for most of Beazley's life, he was raised in a very loving and caring family in the faith of the church in Moerewa.
"He had not attracted a single conviction and everyone spoke highly of his promise," Mr Fairley told the court.
Beazley's mother and father were in the back of the court yesterday supporting their son.
But in 2015 two major events happened that "threw him off his compass", Mr Fairley said.
Beazley's uncle died and a young woman he was very fond of went to Australia, to the arms of another person.
"He found a new whanau in the gang and he had to prove himself. The gang were only too keen to get a young man like this and exploit him."
Last New Year's Eve, Kaitaia man Lee Rata was severely beaten in Bonnetts Rd Kaitaia, near a property where there were wedding celebrations. He was found by a passerby, who called emergency services, but died of brain trauma the following day in Whangarei Hospital.
As a gang prospect, Beazley took the opportunity to further his standing, claiming to police he committed the murder and not implicating anyone else.
However, his mother knew her son was not capable of murder and the next morning went round Moerewa seeking out CCTV footage that showed her son had an alibi.
She then approached a lawyer, spent a day with police and, in an interview with a detective, Beazley came clean.
Justice Ailsa Duffy said perverting the course of justice was a serious offence and struck at the heart of the justice system and was punishable by a maximum prison term of seven years.
Duffy sentenced Beazley to 10 months' home detention after discounts for his young age, early guilty plea and remorse.
"You have been given an opportunity to make something of your life and put this offence behind you. With the support of your whanau and employers, you can make something of your life," Justice Duffy said.
Lester Pairama, 17, Christopher Mana Manuel, 36, Juanita Rafael Wilcox, 26, and Joseph Martin, 41, all of Moerewa, all members or associates of the Mongrel Mob, are jointly charged with the murder of Mr Rata and aggravated robbery. A fifth person Gregory Mark Comer, 58, of Paparoa, is charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact, possession of methamphetamine, perverting the course of justice, and receiving. They reappear on July 14.
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