A $5000 bribe was offered to a juror deliberating in a Rotorua gang shooting trial, it's been revealed.
The inducement had previously been kept out of the public arena but Justice Sarah Katz confirmed it in the High Court at Rotorua today while sentencing five members of the Mangu Kaha chapter of Black Power.
They had been found guilty in December on charges stemming from a clash with Mongrel Mob rivals in the city's Western Heights suburb two years earlier.
The judge said the bribe was an attempt to get a juror either to acquit one of the defendants or ensure there was a hung jury.
She exposed the bribe in a response to defence lawyer Sam Wimsett's claim that credit should be given to his client for choosing not to have the trial aborted at such a late stage, saving the government and taxpayers a significant sum.
Justice Katz noted the juror involved had reported the approach to her and was excused from the panel, meaning the final day of deliberations continued with nine jurors.
The most serious charge faced was by George Robert Jolley, who was found guilty of attempting to murder Wade Pereira, being unlawfully in a building and being a member of an organised criminal group.
He was sentenced to 11 years in jail on the attempted murder charge, three-and-a-half years for the criminal group charge and a month on the building charge. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
His term was greeted by jeers, angry outbursts and gang signs from the packed public gallery.
As Jolley's sentencing began several police and a security guard moved in on a man in the gallery, the security officer telling the judge he'd spotted him taking photographs of one of the offenders on his cellphone.
Justice Katz ordered the man to leave the court and delete the photograph.
Before sentencing any of the group the judge said the organised criminal group charge most were convicted of was extremely serious with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. With the exception of Jolley's attempted murder charge she treated it as the lead sentencing charge.
She described the gang confrontation as brazen, occurring in broad daylight, terrifying for neighbours and numerous innocent bystanders in Thomas Cres, adding it was merciful a child hadn't been shot.
Others sentenced were: Robert Julian Dashwood who was jailed for five years on the criminal group charge and issued with the first of a three strikes warning and a concurrent sentence of three years six months for recklessly discharging a firearm.
Christopher John Jolley was jailed for four months for possessing an offensive weapon, a pole. No release conditions were imposed.
Chadwick Matapuku was jailed for three-and-a-half years for the criminal group charge with concurrent sentences of four months for possessing an offensive weapon, a hockey stick, and a month for being unlawfully in a building.
Cramer McMeeking was jailed for three years seven months on the criminal group charge with concurrent sentences of 18 months for intentional damage to a car and four months for possessing an offensive weapon, a baseball bat.