One of four friends accused of participating in a fatal, unprovoked attack at an Auckland park has pleaded guilty to chasing down a man who was trying to run away from the melee - beating him and stealing his pants.
Henderson resident Andy Tofaeono Moataa, 27, had been set to go to trial next month on a charge of aggravated robbery. Appearing at the High Court at Auckland on Friday via an audio-video feed from his lawyer's office, he instead pleaded guilty to injuring with intent to injure and theft of items under $500.
Co-defendants Stanley Isaac Ramese, 25, and Simon Tavita, 24, remain charged with the murder of a 21-year-old at the same park that night. A third co-defendant, Kitiona Isaac Stanley, 27, is charged with injuring the same man as Moataa. That man survived, suffering a cut and bruising.
All three of the remaining defendants are set to go to trial in November.
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The person who died, who has name suppression, had been socialising with several friends and playing music at Manurewa's Jellicoe Park on the night of October 3 last year when the confrontation took place, authorities previously said.
Moataa lagged behind as the fight started, but was called on to stop the man he eventually attacked from escaping, according to a summary of facts. The man was punched repeatedly in the neck and shoulders and kicked multiple times after he fell to the ground, court documents state.
"After this assault, the defendant Mr Moataa forcibly removed [the victim's] pants, shoes, and a small shoulder bag containing [his] wallet, as he was concerned that they may have his DNA on them," the summary of facts states.
He's set to be sentenced next month. The injury charge carries a maximum penalty of five years' prison, while the theft charge is punishable by up to three months incarceration.