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Identity of teen who tried to kill ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend revealed

Catherine Hutton,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 May 2024, 8:42am
Mason Moody has lost name suppression for attempted murder. Photo / 123
Mason Moody has lost name suppression for attempted murder. Photo / 123

Identity of teen who tried to kill ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend revealed

Catherine Hutton,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 May 2024, 8:42am

A young man whose involvement in a teenage love triangle ended with him viciously attacking his friend with a large machete can now be named. 

Mason Moody was sentenced in March to 12 months home detention for attempted murder, with the judge describing the attack as premeditated and causing serious injuries. 

But Moody, who is now aged 17, couldn’t be named until today when a suppression order lapsed. 

In May 2022, 15-year-old Moody broke up with his girlfriend. She then started dating his friend. 

Upset by this, he set out to kill his friend, searching the internet for information about discreet clothing, Molotov cocktails and running away from home. 

He told a friend he wanted to kill the victim and the following day he took a knife to school, only to be sent home. Three days later he tried to arrange a fight with the victim. Later that night he arrived at the victim’s house armed with machete bearing a 50cm blade. 

The victim told the court the first blow landed on his chest and the second, made with an overhead swing, gashed his forearm as he raised it to protect his head. Several tendons and muscles were exposed. 

The cut to his chest caused a shard of rib to splinter off, puncturing and collapsing his lung. 

“So, I seen my chest it was like open, open like I could, oh, like I could feel the lungs like in there and like the heartbeat and that was real scary because those things are meant to be kept inside you,” the victim said in his evidence. 

The attack only stopped when the victim’s parents intervened and his father confiscated the machete. Moody fled but was caught by police two days later in Palmerston North while travelling on a bus to the Bay of Plenty, still wearing a hoodie with bloodstains on it. 

Name suppression 

This issue of whether the teen should be named was put off until this month pending medical advice on how it would affect him. 

His lawyer, Louise Sziranyi, argued last week for permanent name suppression, saying it would cause the teen extreme hardship, affecting his rehabilitation efforts and future employment prospects. She submitted that online vilification would also leave Moody vulnerable to deterioration of his mental health because he is not equipped to deal with such challenges. 

Crown prosecutor Amanda Jane Brosnan opposed continued name suppression, saying although Moody would likely be embarrassed if his name was published that wasn’t sufficient to cause extreme hardship. With 11 months to run on his home detention sentence, the public interest in the case was likely to have waned by the time he finished his sentence and reintegrated back into the community. 

She argued any attacks from “keyboard warriors” or social media backlash was speculative and could be mitigated by the defendant’s mother moderating his internet and social media use. 

Justice Christine Grice ended up declining permanent suppression, but gave Sziranyi until today to file an appeal. No such appeal was filed. 

In declining permanent suppression, Justice Grice said there was significant public interest in serious criminal offending and knowing the identity of such offenders. 

“I appreciate that publication of his name may cause him some embarrassment, and he would benefit from therapeutic programmes to teach him healthy coping mechanisms, but this is an ordinary consequence of the serious offending he has been sentenced for,” she wrote. 

She said she wasn’t satisfied Moody would experience extreme hardship as a result of publishing his name, adding there was no evidence before the court that he would face difficulties accessing education or other training. 

Catherine Hutton is an Open Justice reporter, based in Wellington. She has worked as a journalist for 20 years, including at the Waikato Times and RNZ. Most recently she was working as a media adviser at the Ministry of Justice. 

This article was originally published on the NZ Herald here. 

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