20 Nov 2009

Teen who beat up war veteran 'high risk since age 14'

8:43 am on 20 November 2009

The lawyer for a teenager sentenced to nearly nine years' jail for badly beating an elderly war veteran says an agency is needed to manage youth who are at high risk of becoming offenders.

Returned serviceman Eric Brady, 85, suffered a broken jaw, cheekbones and an eye socket in the attack outside the Papatoetoe RSA in February.

It was revealed in Manukau District Court on Thursday that his 19-year-old assailant Maurangi Pere was on bail at the time, and had been on a month-long crime spree.

Among the other offences he committed were burglaries and car-jacking the vehicle of a 65-year-old man at knife-point.

He was on Thursday to eight years 10 months in jail with a minimum non-parole period of half that.

Pere's lawyer, Amit Malik, says his client was identified as being at high risk of offending when he was aged 14, but this was not followed up.

Mr Malik says Child Youth and Family would be the logical option for co-ordinating intervention.

CYF says the government's fresh start programme, due to be implemented next year, will provide more intervention, including boot camps, mentoring and rehabilitation.

It says Maurangi Pere is a young adult who has to take responsibility for his actions.

More programmes needed - mayor

Manukau City mayor Len Brown told Morning Report a number of programmes are available to help young, high risk offenders, but more are needed.

Mr Brown says more resources are needed and it also takes time to get the right people trained.

He says 25 youth workers are operating in Manukau, in a scheme costing $10 million over four years, and while it is not a cheap, it is worth it to prevent more young people ending up in jail.