A Christchurch gang "execution" displayed utter contempt not only for the law, but also public safety, a High Court judge said today as he set minimum non parole periods for four men convicted of murder.

A 14 year non parole period was ordered by Justice Chisholm for Matthew Bernard Grant, 37, described as the self-appointed leader of the Highway 61 gang in Christchurch.

Grant was found guilty a fortnight ago on a charge of murdering Black Power gang member Max Shannon.

Shannon, 25, died after being shot in a drive by shooting as he sat in his car in Sylvester Street, Woolston on August 8 last year.

Six people were originally charged with his murder, one pleading guilty last June and the other five being tried in the High Court at Christchurch over a six week period.

One was discharged part way through the trial and one was acquitted.

But in spite of their not guilty pleas, three (3), including Grant, were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Grant and three others appeared yesterday for the setting of minimum non parole periods on their life sentences.

Of the others, both Dean Waka Nathan, 34, unemployed, and Garth Geoffrey Bucknall, 32, unemployed, who stood trial with Grant, received minimum non parole periods of 13 years.

In addition Murray Arnold Simms, 31, a beneficiary, who pleaded guilty to the murder charge last June, was given a minimum non parole period of 11 years.

The murder was another example of inter gang conflict that had plagued the city, Justice Chisholm said.

- CHRISTCHURCH STAR