A Northland teenager has been banned from contacting gang members including his father as part of a sentence handed out for his part in destroying evidence in a homicide investigation.
Gregory Matthew Comer, 18, appeared in the High Court at Whangarei yesterday alongside his father Gregory Mark Comer, 58, a patched Mongrel Mob member.
A jury previously found the younger of the duo guilty of a charge of being an accessory
after the fact to manslaughter.
He was sentenced to six months' community detention and 12 months' supervision to be served concurrently, with a special condition not to contact gang members or known gang prospects, unless it was cleared by his probation officer. He was also subject to a night time curfew during the 12 months' supervision.
His father was sentenced to 21 months' jail after being found guilty by a jury of attempting to pervert the course of justice and being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter.
The charges were laid after the death of Lee Rata who was fatally wounded by a group of people, including members of the Mongrel Mob gang, following an argument on Bonnets Rd in Kaitaia on New Year's Eve 2015.
Mongrel Mob gang member Christopher Manuel was married earlier that day and was one of those who admitted chasing and killing Mr Rata.
Manuel, 36, was sentenced to 11 years and six months for manslaughter, aggravated robbery and conspiring to pervert the course of justice, with a minimum non-parole period of five years and nine months last month.
The Comers then interfered with the police investigation and arranged for the removal of a helmet from a house and other items that were of interest to detectives.
Police obtained orders from the High Court to listen to phone conversations between the father and son.
It was discovered Comer senior phoned his son, then aged 16, and instructed him to tear the patches off a Mongrel mob vest, belonging to Mr Rata, and burn it and to either melt or sink a Nazi-style metal helmet, worn by Manuel, which was used in the attack.
In another conversation Gregory Matthew Comer was heard telling his father he had it sorted and to stay off the phone.
Justice Paul Davison spoke to Gregory Matthew Comer during the sentencing and encouraged him to seek out friends who would help develop a life that distanced him from the gangs.
"You are, as I see it, an intelligent young man ... at your age you have an opportunity to make a decision. You have the ability to live a worthwhile life but its entirely up to you."
Comer senior had a criminal history that started in 1975 and he had 63 convictions.
Justice Davison said Comer senior's offending was serious and he had helped the people who had been involved in the death of Rata.
"You well knew what you were doing. You did it to assist and protect associates."
He said gangs had a culture of getting young ones to do the dirty work for the senior members.