A West Auckland man has been sentenced to 4-and-a-half months' home detention for supplying synthetic drugs to his sister and cousin - who both died soon after using the toxic substances.

And Isitolo Uritua says he now wants to help others struggling with drug addiction.

Marilyn Makikiriti, 26, and her cousin Junior Taneao died days apart in September last year.

Makikiriti's death came just two weeks after she gave birth to her third child.


Police confirmed both deaths were related to synthetic drugs.

They are among more than 50 synthetics-related fatalities currently before the Coroner.

Uritua - also known as Chris - was later charged with two counts of supplying a psychoactive substance.

He has not been charged with causing the deaths, but he pleaded guilty to supplying both relatives with synthetics.

Uritua, 33, was sentenced in the Waitakere District Court this afternoon.

Judge June Jelas heard that Uritua was extremely remorseful and had a number of "personal difficulties" since his sister and cousin died including attempts at self harm.

His lawyer told the court that Uritua has not touched any illegal substances or alcohol since the offending.

"With that clarity of mind, and assistance from a social worker - he has made decision wants to assist people in drug education through the church he attends," his lawyer said.

Uritua had participated in a restorative justice conference with some of his family but none of Taneao's side attended.


Judge Jelas said the charges Uritua had admitted were "not the most serious" - the result of it was.

"What makes it more serious is that two people died as a result of consuming synthetic (drugs) that you supplied them," she said.

A pre sentence report stated Uritua lived with his family and Makikiriti's three children.

It also revealed Uritua was diagnosed wtih schizophrenia 12 years ago and had been medicated since then.

Judge Jelas said Uritua supplying his sister was "relatively low" in terms of criminality.

However, the supply to Taneao had an "element of risk taking and recklessness".


"At that time you had been warned by police about the possible link between your sister's death and the supply of synthetic (drugs)," the judge said.

"You ignored that..."

Judge Jelas accepted Uritua was not legally responsible for the deaths but had he not supplied the drugs his sister and cousin may still be alive.

"You expressed your deep regret... there have been times you have contemplated taking your own life," she said.

"You described your sister's death as being the darkest era of your life if you could take back what occurred you would."

Judge Jelas said Uritua's mother did not blame him for her daughter's death - she wanted him to move on and be a role model for the dead woman's children.


"You've expressed a deep desire to become a drug and alcohol cousellor," she said.

She sentenced Uritua to 4-and-a-half months' home detention.

In August the Herald was granted access to the summary of facts, which outlines exactly how and why Uritua supplied the drugs.

The summary reveals that Uritua and Makikiriti were at his New Lynn home together on the evening of September 11.

Makikiriti asked Uritua to source her some synthetic drugs and gave him $20 cash.
At about 9pm Uritua took his sister to the home of an associate in Glen Eden.

Isitolo Uritua. Photo / Greg Bowker
Isitolo Uritua. Photo / Greg Bowker

There, Uritua purchased a "small snaplock bag" containing about 1g of synthetic drugs.

The siblings then went home and the drugs were divided into three portions - for Uritua, Makikiriti and his mate.


Uritua and his mate went to an abandoned house nearby and consumed all of their share of the drugs.

Makikiriti stayed at home and took her share.

Later that evening she collapsed and died.

On Wednesday September 14 Uritua was at home with a number of other family members mourning Makikiriti's death.

Taneao was at the house and asked Uritua if he could supply him with synthetic drugs.

Again, Uritua agreed and took Taneao to his associate's house in Glen Eden.


He purchased $20 of synthetic drugs, this time from a different person.

"The defendant then supplied the synthetics to his cousin," the summary said.

"He did not take any for himself."

Taneao returned to his home and consumed the drugs.

In the early hours of the next morning, he was found dead.

Uritua is the second West Auckland man to be sentenced in relation to synthetics deaths this year.

Calum Jones died after using synthetic drugs. Photograph supplied
Calum Jones died after using synthetic drugs. Photograph supplied

In June West Auckland man Jonathan Gordon, 23, was sentenced to community detention and supervision for supplying Henderson father-of-one Calum Jones with the drugs.

Jones had been battling an addiction to synthetic drugs for years and had only been home from full-time rehab for one day when he died.

Despite doing better than he had in years and getting on top of his severe addiction,
Jones used synthetic drugs shortly before his death.

Jones' parents Lewis and Lorraine teamed up with National MP Simeon Brown to petition for harsher sentences for people who supply synthetics.

Brown's Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill is currently before parliament, calling for the maximum penalty for synthetic drugs to be raised from two to eight years in prison.

Calum Jones' father speaks outside Waitakere District Court at the sentencing of Jonathan Gordon for supplying synthetics. / Jason Oxenham

The bill has passed two readings and will be considered by a Committee of the whole House in the near future.

During this stage, a bill is usually considered part by part, and members have the chance to debate it in detail.


In July the Herald reported that Cabinet was seeking urgent advice over the spike
in deaths linked to the use of synthetic cannabis.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said the "worrying" increase in deaths had been discussed by Cabinet after provisional figures from the Coroner showed that up to 45 people had died from using synthetic cannabis in the year to June.

That number has since increased to at least 50.

Synthetic drugs - how to help

Medical advice for the families or associates of synthetic drug users was recently given to Coroner Gordon Matenga.

He and other Coroners are now widely sharing the advice.

If a person who has had synthetics collapses, that person should be immediately shaken to attempt to rouse that person.


If the person rouses, that person should be placed in the recovery position and a call for help should be made.

If the person does not rouse, then call for help and commence chest compressions - do not delay.