A man was high on methamphetamine when he went on a rampage with a gun in which customers at an Eastern Bay of Plenty berry farm cafe were injured.

Prior to storming Julian's Berry Farm in Whakatane in February last year, Redmond Eruera Huirua became annoyed at another customer at a Gull petrol station and had fired his shotgun hitting the bonnet of his car.

The customer fled in fear but Huirua gave chase, with the victim adamant he was also again fired at.

Huirua, 27, appeared before Justice Pheroze Jagose in the High Court at Hamilton this morning for sentencing on a range of charges, including reckless discharge of a firearm and commission of a crime with a firearm.

Advertisement

The offending began after Huirua received a stolen Subaru on January 31, last year. After filling it with $60 petrol he drove off from a petrol station without paying.

On February 7, he drove to another petrol station where he had a confrontation with a customer who parked next to him. He pointed his shotgun at him and fired at least one shot, which landed on the bonnet of the victim's car.

The victim fled to a local police station, with Huirua in pursuit.

The following day, Huirua stormed Julian's Berry Farm Cafe on Hunua Rd during their busy lunch time period of just after 1pm. He saw someone he knew and told her to round up her children and leave. Wearing a hoodie and covering his face, he walked up to the front counter and demanded cash from the 20-year-old worker.

A woman customer who saw the confrontation, walked up to Huirua and challenged him, telling him to leave.

Armed police after the attempted aggravated robbery at Julian's Berry Farm Cafe in Whakatane. Photo/File.
Armed police after the attempted aggravated robbery at Julian's Berry Farm Cafe in Whakatane. Photo/File.

Huirua yelled at the woman, telling her to "back up", but she stood her ground and told him to "back up".

Huirua then pointed his shotgun at the ground and fired a shot, with shrapnel hitting the woman's legs and hitting two other customers in the stomach and right arm.

He eventually fled. Armed police were called and the victims taken to hospital. They required surgery to have bullet fragments removed.

One of the customers, who was lunching with the woman who intervened, spoke of the impact the incident had on her in court today.

She said while she was initially okay, it wasn't until she was driving past the cafe three days later that she became debilitated in fear and shock. She had to pull over and couldn't continue driving. She's since suffered from post-traumatic stress.

Other customers had also been affected, including a 75-year-old woman who now has to sit near a door when she visits cafes.

Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett urged Justice Jagose to impose a sentence of just over eight years' jail and limit the early guilty plea discount to 15 per cent, given it came just before the trial was due to begin.

She also pushed for a minimum non-parole period of at least 50 per cent given Huirua's sudden escalation in offending.

But Huirua's lawyer Rachael Adams suggested a more conservative approach of about five years' jail and said her client was remorseful for what happened.

Justice Jagose accepted Huirua's remorse and the fact the incidents came after he had lost two close family members.

He said although the offending was serious which resulted in the shotgun being fired twice and several people injured, he was still young and able to rehabilitated.

He took a starting point of six years and six months before handing down discounts and coming to an end jail term of five years.