The savage slayings of uncle and nephew Raymond and James Fleet have been denounced with hefty jail time.

In the High Court at Rotorua today Zen Pulemoana, 27, was put behind bars for life with a minimum non-parole period of 14 years after earlier being found guilty of murdering James Fleet and the manslaughter of his uncle Raymond Fleet.

Pulemoana was sentenced to five years and 11 months imprisonment for Raymond Fleet's manslaughter, to be served concurrently with his life sentence.

Mikaere James Hura, 21, was jailed for six years for the manslaughter of both men, to be served concurrently, after the jury found him not guilty of murdering them.

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There is no minimum non-parole period for Hura. The sentence also included two methamphetamine-related charges, which the judge described as minor.

The sentences were determined by Justice Sally Fitzgerald who presided over the pair's trial which ran from mid-October until November 3 when the jury returned its verdicts after deliberating for 14 hours.

Zen Pulemoana and Mikaere James Hura have been jailed for their role in the deaths of Raymond Fleet ( pictured left) and James Fleet. Photo / File
Zen Pulemoana and Mikaere James Hura have been jailed for their role in the deaths of Raymond Fleet ( pictured left) and James Fleet. Photo / File

During the trial, Crown witnesses recounted how the two Fleets had been taken to the end of Mamaku's remote Cecil Rd which leads into the dense bush and savagely beaten on August 7 last year.

Raymond Fleet was then run over by a four-wheel drive driven by Martin Hone who had already pleaded guilty and been jailed for their murders.

His brother, Richard Te Kani, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the pair and was subsequently jailed.

The Fleets deaths came after the older man became involved in a methamphetamine manufacturing enterprise which did not return the yield those who ordered it anticipated.

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At the trial, and at Hone and Te Kani's sentencings, it was emphasised James Fleet had not taken part in manufacturing the drug but had been "in the wrong place at the wrong time" when he and his uncle were forced into the vehicle that took them to the place where they were to lose their lives.

Evidence was given Pulemoana and Hura were later ordered to return to where the Fleets lay and take their bodies deeper into the bush.

All the convicted men were described as members or affiliates of the Black Power gang's Mangu Kaha chapter.

Georgina Fleet, Raymond Fleet's mother and the grandmother of James angrily
addressed Hura and Pulemoana as she read her victim impact statement today.

She was supported by James' mother Bronwyn Fleet.

Georgina Fleet told the men who robbed her of two family members they were "wannabe" gang members who had caused heartache and anguish.

She said while Raymond was not perfect and had problems with drugs, he was a much-loved family member and popular member of the Mamaku community.

She acknowledged James Fleet had also had problems in his life but had got it back on track with family support and his boss was impressed with him.

Becoming emotional, she said the last thing her son had done was kiss his much longed-for granddaughter goodbye, he would not see her grow up and he'd have made an amazing koro. James had been robbed of the chance to have a family of his own.

"I believe in karma and I hope you have a terrible time in jail," she snarled at the men in the dock.

Crown Prosecutor Duncan McWilliam said Hura made a conscious, concerted decision to be involved in the gang lifestyle.

"He clearly knew what was taking place in the cook [methamphetamine manufacture] and as the day of the killings advanced he knew of the possibility of things turning violent," he said.

McWilliam emphasised Pulemoana had been involved in the assault on James Fleet in the back of the vehicle the men had been taken to remote Cecil Rd in.

"He was not sitting there frozen to the seat, sitting on his hands, he had a high level of participation in the murder of James Fleet."

For Hura, lawyer Harry Edward described him as being at the bottom of the gang heap, answerable to senior patched members.

Hura had been subjected to violence from Hone which had intimidated him to the extent he'd gone along with what was demanded of him.

He claimed Hura lacked the cognitive skills to cope with the fear he was feeling because of the violence Hone had used on him.

Pulemoana's lawyer, Max Simpkins, pleaded for what he called a fair and just sentence.

"I am not here today to provide excuses or justification for Mr Pulemoana but to ask you to assess his criminality compared with others involved in these tragic events," he told Justice Fitzgerald.

He argued Pulemoana was not involved in actual violence to either of the Fleets, saying he had not been aggressive when he'd taken James Fleet from his grandmother's home or on the assault on Raymond Fleet. Nor could Raymond Fleet being run over be attributed to Pulemoana.

Simpkins said although it may not mean much today Pulemoana was sorry for what happened and had expressed that in both his pre-sentence report and to counsel.

Justice Fitzgerald opened her sentencing by acknowledging the Fleet family in the public gallery and commended Georgina Fleet on reading her victim impact statement in court, "that takes guts," she said. She commended the family for the dignity they had shown throughout the trial.

She said she was aware she was repeating what judges had said in other cases, that any sentence imposed could not replace the family's deep and tragic loss but she sincerely hoped it would bring them some measure of closure.

Justice Fitzgerald pointed out it remained unknown why James Fleet was taken from his grandmother's home and driven away with his uncle. "I've no doubt it remains a source of anguish for his family," she said.

She told Hura and Pulemoana she accepted both were prospects of the Black Powers' Mangu Kaha chapter, were low in its hierarchy and now deeply regretted their involvement "in this horrible gang" but had made the choice about wanting to be involved in it.

She accepted both acted under instruction from senior gang members but nevertheless had played roles in the events that led to the Fleet's deaths.

Although they had not been involved in the methamphetamine manufacturing they had run around doing errands relating to it at the bidding of the senior members and played a part in looking for what was believed to have been a quantity that was missing. Hura had helped dispose of materials used in the manufacturing process but she described charges stemming from that as minor.

Both had carried out instructions to return to the scene of the killings, take the bodies deeper into the bush where they'd made rudimentary efforts to cover them

Today's sentencings draw down the final curtain on the court process stemming from the men's violent deaths that rocked the country 16 months ago.