20 Feb 2009

Two men involved in Jhia shooting jailed for life

8:52 pm on 20 February 2009

A judge has described the behaviour of gang members involved in the death of Wanganui toddler Jhia Te Tua as disgraceful and lamentable.

In the High Court in Wellington on Friday, Hayden Wallace, who fired the fatal shot in May 2007, was jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 15 years, as was Karl Check, who ordered the shooting.

Ranji Forbes, who drove Wallace to the shooting, was jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 12 and a half years.

For manslaughter, Godfrey Muraahi received a sentence of 10 years and six months and Eru Eti Nahona one of 10 years and three months. Each faces a six-year minimum non-parole period.

Justice Gendall read from a victim impact statement in which Jhia Te Tua's grandmother denounced the gangs involved in the child's death and said the power and influence of gangs had to be broken, because people had had enough.

Justice Gendall also ordered forfeiture of all vehicles involved in the shooting.

Wallace's lawyer Paul Mabey QC said Wallace continued to deny involvement in Jhia Te Tua's death.

However, Justice Gendall said Wallace had told the jury a story which it rejected as a tissue of lies.

Forbes' lawyer Mike Antunovic said his client's involvement in the incident was limited and he was remorseful about the child's death.

However, the judge Forbes had deliberately stopped the car so that shots could be fired from it at those standing outside the Te Tua home.