Andre Jade Hansen, 22, admitted possessing a' />
A judge has taken the unusual step of ordering the destruction of a Mongrel Mob member's gang patch.
Andre Jade Hansen, 22, admitted possessing an offensive weapon and breaching a liquor ban when he appeared before Judge James Weir in Rotorua District Court this week.
He was seen in Rotorua on July 5 drinking with five friends inside a car.
At the time, he was wearing a leather vest with a gang patch on it, police prosecutor Sergeant Stephen Coleman told the court.
Police searched Hansen and found inside his vest a 30cm sharpened metal file, known as shank, with insulation tape wrapped around one end to form a handle.
Hansen told police he had the weapon "just in case there was trouble".
Judge Weir noted police had applied for the destruction of the vest and metal file.
However, duty lawyer Kathy Jackson told the court police had told him he could go to the police station and pick up his gang patch.
"It wasn't on the vest. He tells me it was inside a pocket," she said.
But Judge Weir said the patch would be destroyed - along with the vest and weapon.
"I don't care... the patch will be destroyed as well. He is missing the point. It's not difficult, the patch was in his possession," he said.
Lawyer Max Simpkins said he had lodged an appeal against the destruction order. "The lawful ground for taking the patch needs to be tested," he said.
Kawerau Mongrel Mob chapter president Des Ngaheu said a gang member's patch was important to the wearer.
"We are born and bred into gangs. It's a mana thing and about who we are."
Each chapter had protocol around the loss of patches, but there was no real "harsh penalty" if a member lost one, Ngaheu said.
"It depends on the situation really - you can't do anything if the law takes it from you. It's the sort of thing you'd take to a chapter meeting and discuss."
Wanganui mayor Michael Laws, who orchestrated the passing of a law banning gang patches in his city, said the Rotorua judge's move was "fantastic".
- THE DAILY POST, ALICE NEVILLE