A group of Mongrel Mob members have been jailed for at least four years as a judge rejected the explanation they were performing a community service by breaking into a suspected drug den.
Christopher Ivan Stephens, Warwick Rua Taylor Karaka, Nassey Te Ngahuru August and Jermaine Anderson were involved in a violent home invasion in West Auckland in the early hours of October 16, 2013, during which a woman was doused in petrol and threatened with a lighter.
Another defendant - who was given permanent name suppression - is the father of the 13-year-old boy who was accused of the manslaughter of Henderson shopkeeper Arun Kumar. The teen was acquitted at trial in June.
His father, who has 73 previous convictions, admitted the aggravated burglary, along with Stephens and August.
But Karaka and Anderson went to trial where they were found guilty of that charge and counts of aggravated robbery and unlawful assembly.
The men, dressed in Mongrel Mob regalia, arrived at a Henderson property in the early hours of the morning.
They kicked the door in and immediately scoured the house for valuables.
A female resident was stripped of her jewellery and a man had a pot plant smashed in his face when he tried to help her.
Another woman at the house was groped by one of the gang members and told to lift her top so they could make sure she had not concealed anything.
Moments later, one of the men found a petrol container in another room and poured it over her telling her: "I'm going to make an example of you, b***h".
As he was flicking his lighter the others told him they were leaving.
But most of the offenders were found in cars - along with knives, gang apparel, stolen property and an empty petrol container - by police as they tried to make their escape.
Counsel for some of the defendants explained the incident occurred because the men were concerned people at the property were selling drugs to kids.
But Crown prosecutor Scott McColgan strenuously rejected that.
"There was no evidential foundation this was committed as some sort of Robin-Hood philanthropic act for the benefit of the community. This was what's well known in the underworld as a taxing; nothing more, nothing less," he said.
Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said it was not an attempt to mitigate or justify the offending but to give some background.
Judge David Sharp said there was no evidence that pointed to it being an altruistic venture, but accepted the men and their families had been adversely affected by drugs in the past.
He also highlighted the vulnerability of the victims, one of whom had just lost a loved one.
"She was already pretty shaky before someone poured petrol on her and said she would be set on fire," he said.
The judge said one of the residents had previously sold drugs but had since stopped and subsequently lost the protection of another gang.
August, who acted as a getaway driver, was jailed for four years; Stephens and the man with name suppression were jailed for four and a half years; and Karaka and Anderson got five years nine months.
Another defendant is yet to be sentenced and one man allegedly involved is awaiting trial.
Security guard death
There was a delay during the trial when a security guard died while supervising the two defendants.
It is understood there was a scuffle but the experienced staff member ultimately died because of an underlying medical condition.
Today at sentencing, Karaka asked his lawyer Shane Tait to address the matter on his behalf.
"He would like to use this arena to apologise to the court and First Security for that," Mr Tait said.
Karaka was not charged over the incident.