Head Hunter gang members sentenced in Rotorua

PHOTO/FILE
PHOTO/FILE

Three Head Hunters gang members have been sentenced to community detention for charges laid in the wake of the kidnapping and extorting property from a wealthy businessman at Rotorua and Taupo.

When a lengthy trial of nine of the gang in the High Court at Rotorua concluded in December, Benjamin Paul Dwyer and Brent Anthony Gunning were found guilty of robbing the businessman's girlfriend of her cellphone in Tauranga. Liam John Kane was also convicted of unlawfully possessing a firearm.

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In the same court today, Justice Timothy Brewer sentenced Dwyer to six months' community detention, Gunning to four months and Kane to three months plus 100 hours' community work.

Dwyer and Gunning were issued with the first of a three strikes warning - mandatory for robbery charges.

Justice Brewer issued a warning for Gunning: "You are not bullet-proof, you are a Head Hunter. They are about major drugs and sometimes violence. Do you want to be in a situation in a couple of years where a judge says 10 years?"

The three men were the only ones of nine gang members found guilty of any of the more than 100 charges laid following the businessman's alleged kidnapping at the beginning of 2015. The other six were acquitted following a month-long trial last year.

The Crown claimed the gang kidnapped the businessman and his young employee and attempted to extort cars and properties from the businessman after he slept with Dwyer's partner.

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