Twice pulling the trigger of the gun that killed Tauranga man Lance Waite has put Colin Jeffries-Smith behind bars for nine years.
The 28-year-old was sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua today for the manslaughter of Waite, 58, at a Gate Pa building known as The Trap on January 2 last year.
Jeffries-Smith will serve a total of 11 years after receiving a further two years for drug charges, with no minimum period of imprisonment imposed.
Casino Heta Williams, 51, who was tried with Jeffries-Smith, was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact of Waite's manslaughter and unlawfully possessing a firearm. He was jailed for a total of six years and one month by Justice Mark Woolford.
This included three years for a raft of domestic violence charges that he had pleaded guilty to relating to a former partner. Again no minimum period of imprisonment was imposed.
Justice Woolford also ordered the destruction of the firearms and ammunition police uncovered at Williams' home.
Post trial, Jeffries-Smith admitted additional drugs charges when he appeared in the High Court at Tauranga in July. These involved possessing methamphetamine for supply, and supplying it.
In addition he pleaded guilty to similar charges relating to cannabis. That offending was between December 20, 2017, and January 3, 2018.
Jeffries-Smith denied murdering Waite, a Mongrel Mob sergeant at arms and enforcer, when he faced a six-week trial in the High Court at Rotorua that began in May and ran into June.
The judge said he did not accept Jeffries-Smith's claim that Waite threatened him with a sawn–off shotgun at The Trap minutes before Waite was shot, or he had threatened to harm Jeffries-Smith and his family over non-payment of a drug debt.
The judge's view was Jeffries-Smith lost his temper when Waite mocked him by saying he wouldn't use the gun he was brandishing.
He didn't accept Jeffries-Smith's actions had been of the vigilante type, rather his prime motivation for having the weapon was to get his car keys back from Waite.
He had fired two shots at close range hitting Waite in the back. Waite died soon after at Tauranga Hospital.
Referring to letters to his victim's family that Jeffries-Smith's lawyer tendered to the court on his behalf, Justice Woolford said they contained apologies for his actions but it was his view Jeffries-Smith had shown little remorse and had little insight into his offending.
He noted Jeffries-Smith obtained the firearm and ammunition used from Williams.
Dealing with Williams, Justice Woolford said he had encouraged Jeffries-Smith to shoot Waite, had provided him with shelter, clean clothes and a cellphone SIM card after the killing.
Emotional victim impact statements from Waite's sister, brother and daughter were read to the court.
Sister Tina Paki said although her brother was a long-standing Mongrel Mob member he lived two very separate lives. She urged the judge to view him not for his gang connections but as a loving family man, much loved in return.
His mokopuna had been robbed of his wisdom and the whole whānau had been left with a huge hole in their hearts. Their anguish had intensified when, the day after Waite's funeral, her older brother had suffered a massive heart attack.
Eyeballing Jeffries-Smith in the dock, she told him to have someone die at his hands was something he would have to live with for the rest of his days
Waite's brother, Graeme Waite, opened his statement by vowing he was a patriotic Kiwi who believed in justice for Kiwis. He admitted he and his brother had their differences but he was very glad they had sorted them out with a hug shortly before Waite's death.
He acknowledged he had to accept Jefferies-Smith had been found guilty of manslaughter but continued to believe his brother had been murdered.
He asked the judge to sentence Jeffries-Smith accordingly.
"You are two Maori men who killed another Maori man. I believe there should be no mercy. Try and rest my brother, only God can judge you now."
Stormie Waite, the deceased's daughter, asked what right did Jeffries-Smith have to take another man's life.
"We now have to live without our dad, the man whose life you have taken ... I have heaps of questions I know I will never get answers to. I just want you to know we are the ones who have to live with the consequences."