A Hastings youth who was 15 when he hit a man several times in the head with a hammer and caused injuries which needed more than 30 stitches has been sentenced to four years in jail.

Alazaey Todd, now 16, was originally charged in the Youth Court with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, which carries maximum penalty of 14 years' jail, and with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

But because of history and the seriousness of the assault which happened on the Saturday night of September 8 last year, it was transferred to the Napier District Court where Todd was sentenced today by Judge Bridget Mackintosh.

The Judge used nine years as a starting point before setting the penalty, taking into account Todd's youth and the impact of his upbringing to discount a total of 40 per cent, before a further 25 per cent discount to reflect the admission and guilty pleas which meant there was no need for the victim to relive the events in giving evidence in court.

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A summary said the victim, a 25-year-old Indian immigrant was in contact with Todd's girlfriend, who during the events would claim to Todd that the man had tried to have sex with her and that Todd should "smash him in the head."

The events started with the man picking the girl up from a Flaxmere address, and then at the girl's request picking up Todd from another address.

It was at that time that the girl made her claim about the man's behaviour. The man locked the door of his car, but the girl spoke with him to appease the man who was then told by the girl's sister to drive them towards Fernhill.

Todd told the man to stop because he needed to go to the toilet, but after they stopped Todd asked to get into the front sea, where according to the summary he struck the man "4 to 5 times with a steel hammer".

The victim undid his seat belt, took his keys from the ignition, and, chased by Todd and his associates, escaped and got a passer-by to take him to hospital.

Todd returned to the car, removed a plastic cover from around the steering wheel shaft and struck the ignition drum with a hammer in an attempt to take the vehicle, but it was no longer operable.

The victim received a "severe" laceration to his forehead and two other cuts around the right temple, and was left with permanent scars and other issues of fear and insecurity which were highlighted in a victim impact statement.

While defence counsel Richard Stone drew the judge's attention to indications of the teen's remorse and capabilities of rehabilitation, Crown prosecutor Amanda Bryant highlighted that there had been issues of recent violence in the youth's recent secure residential care, along with eight other Youth Court "notifications" of violence.