A senior gang member has been sentenced to preventive detention for stabbing notorious double-killer Graeme Burton more than 40 times.

Siuaki Lisiate attacked Burton at New Zealand's only maximum-security prison on May 11, 2018.

Burton was left in a life-threatening condition and now suffers from severely diminished vision.

Lisiate was sentenced in the High Court at Auckland today by Justice Geoffrey Venning.


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Graeme Burton prison attack: Tama Tapine sentenced
Graeme Burton prison attack: Te Ariki Poulgrain sentenced

Justice Venning said the attack was clearly planned, involving two other prisoners.

Te Ariki Poulgrain deliberately positioned himself to force Burton closer to Tama Tapine, who launched the attack with a right-hook punch.

Burton, who has a prosthetic leg, fell to the ground and Lisiate used two shanks to repeatedly stab Burton about the head and face.

Today in court, Crown prosecutor David Wiseman sought a sentence of preventive detention.

"Obviously, this offending is extreme and is the latest iteration in a course of dealings on Mr Lisiate's part."

This offending occurred while Lisiate was serving time for murder, he said.

Wiseman questioned Lisiate's ability for rehabilitation.


"Mr Lisiate is, at this point, incapable of putting those good intentions into practice."

Lisiate's lawyer Ron Mansfield said some units in the prison in reality, because of those who occupy them, were safer than others.

This was a particularly unsafe environment because of the individuals there, he said.

"What has occurred here is a reflection, in my submission, of that.

"Whilst it does Mr Lisiate no favours, this form of assault with items such as this should not be able to occur."

Lisiate had received information that Burton was about to strike against him, he said.


"Mr Lisiate chose to strike first and in a serious way."

Sadly, Lisiate has been institutionalised, he said.

Paremoremo Prison in Albany, New Zealand's only maximum-security facility. Photo / Doug Sherring
Paremoremo Prison in Albany, New Zealand's only maximum-security facility. Photo / Doug Sherring

Mansfield said it was appropriate to acknowledge his complex rehabilitation needs.

Justice Venning said a sustained attack had occurred while Burton was defenceless on the ground.

"You [Lisiate] only ceased the attack when you were driven back by the Corrections Officers," he said.

The most serious injury sustained by Burton was that to his right eye.


Unfortunately, Lisiate's circumstances were all too commonly seen by the court when sentencing prisoners for serious violent offending, the judge said.

"A broken home, failure to complete schooling, early abuse of alcohol and drugs and involvement in gangs are common features.

"You are now 39 years old. It is apparent from all the reports that you are effectively institutionalised."

Lisiate already had 25 convictions, most committed while on bail or in prison.

"You expressed little remorse for the offending and considered the incident arose because Mr Burton was placed in the same landing as you," Justice Venning said.

"You suggest the prison authorities were responsible for that."


Justice Venning rejected that suggestion and said the CCTV footage was clear.

"Mr Burton was no threat to you at the time of this particular assault," he said.

"He may be a violent man but there was no threat to you on this occasion.

"If you genuinely felt under threat you should have told the authorities."

Justice Venning further said the causes of Lisiate's offending were deep-seated and he had no insight into his offending.

"The risk you pose to the community cannot be met by a finite term even bearing in mind the possibility of an extended supervision order on your release."


On the charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, Lisiate was sentenced to preventive detention with a minimum term of five years, two months' imprisonment.

Previously in the High Court at Auckland, Poulgrain was sentenced to three years and nine months' imprisonment for his part in the attack.

Tapine was sentenced to a year and three months' imprisonment.

Graeme Burton pictured during his 2007 sentencing for the murder of Karl Kuchenbecker. Photo / File
Graeme Burton pictured during his 2007 sentencing for the murder of Karl Kuchenbecker. Photo / File

Meanwhile, Burton is serving a life sentence for the murder of Karl Kuchenbecker.

In 2007, Burton gunned down the father-of-two, shot two other men and wounded a handful of others in Wainuiomata and Wellington - the tragic climax to six months of drug-fuelled offending.

At the time, Burton was on parole, having served time for the murder of Paul Anderson in 1992.


Fuelled by a cocktail of illicit drugs and alcohol, Burton had killed Anderson after being denied entry to a Wellington nightclub.