A Rotorua gang president has been sentenced to 19 months' jail for being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter.

Mongrel Mob member Henare Raukokore Swinton was found guilty in September for his involvement in suppressing evidence in the killing of Don Henry Turei Jr, a member of the Tribesmen gang.

The jury found Swinton set fire to a vehicle in an attempt to help his gang associate Andre Robert Taiapa avoid a manslaughter conviction.

In the High Court at Rotorua, Justice Pheroze Jagose began with a starting point of 21 months' imprisonment, but gave a 10 per cent discount for personal factors - Swinton completed a qualification and has had few recent convictions.


"Stepping back and looking at your entire criminal history, there is some indication of your personal and socially constructive progress," the judge said.

"You also say you are a reluctant president of the Mongrel Mob Aotearoa, and you are really wanting to put your gang involvement behind you to spend time with your family."

Justice Jagose chose not to impose a higher sentence based on Swinton's 51 previous convictions, but considered the fact he did not plead guilty but went through a jury trial.

Co-offender Jared Renata Te Moana pleaded guilty to an accessory charge and was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.

Turei, 38, was killed after he was knocked off his Harley Davidson motorbike outside Raukokere Marae on State Highway 35 in the eastern Bay of Plenty on November 26, 2016.

Taiapa drove his car into the back of his motorbike, with his rear wheel becoming stuck in the front of the car.

It eventually came loose, and Turei Jnr attempted to flee but Taiapa caught up and smashed the car into the back of the bike, forcing it off the road and into a ditch.

Taiapa drove off as mourners at the marae ran to help. He then did a U-turn and drove past yelling obscenities and boasting about killing Turei Jnr.


Swinton became involved later when it was decided to get rid of the Honda Odyssey Taiapa was driving.