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John MacDonald: How do these lawyers sleep at night?

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Sep 2023, 12:41PM
Photo / NZ Herald | File
Photo / NZ Herald | File

John MacDonald: How do these lawyers sleep at night?

John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Sep 2023, 12:41PM

I don’t know how some lawyers manage to sleep at night.

Especially ones who say an innocent guy who was viciously attacked by about a dozen Black Power gang members wasn’t as vulnerable as the court had made out.

Especially ones who are trying right now to get these monsters out of prison and sitting at home with an ankle bracelet on.

What this is all about, is something that happened in September last year when an innocent middle-aged man was brutally attacked by up to 13 Mongrel Mob guys.

And I say “innocent”, because the only thing this poor guy was guilty of, was making what turned out to be a bad decision to put on a red sweatshirt before he walked down to his local McDonalds restaurant for lunch. Something he did most days.

I’ll get to some of the outrageous things the lawyer representing some of these gang guys said in court yesterday shortly. But first, let me run you through a bit of the background.

So it was September last year in Hawera, and this poor guy was on his way to Maccas. And these Black Power guys spotted him in his red sweatshirt and they went all red-rag-to-a-bull on it, thinking he was a rival from the Mongrel Mob. Just because he was wearing the red top.

So they followed him to the McDonalds restaurant and, after he’d ordered and was waiting for his food, they let rip.

He ended up on the floor and was punched and kicked 14 times. This included punches in the head. He was stabbed in the torso, as well.

It was all caught on security cameras. Not all of the attackers could be identified - but seven of them ended up in court and, in June this year, they were sentenced.

And, at the time, he told the court that the attack had shaken his world. He said he pleaded with the gang members to stop, telling them that he had nothing to do with the Mongrel Mob. But they kept going.

He said he was terrified at the time and was still terrified and finds it hard to leave the house sometimes.

The court also heard that the 40-year-old man lives with his parents and suffers from a mental illness, which he takes medication for everyday.

And so three of these cowards, who ended up in prison, aren’t happy with their sentences - think they’ve been hard done by - and their lawyers made their cases yesterday to have their sentences reduced, be let out of prison and allowed to sit at home with ankle bracelets on.

The judge who heard yesterday’s appeal has reserved her decision. So we have to wait for the outcome.

But some of the comments the lawyers representing these guys made in court yesterday are staggering. Which is why I'm wondering how they sleep at night.

Nathan Bourke is the lawyer I’m going to quote first.

He said, aside from the stab injury, the victim only came out of the beating with a cut on his face and general bruising.

He said that, even though the victim was outnumbered by about 13-to-1, he was a grown man, not elderly and heavily built. This lawyer - who, in my honest opinion, should really be ashamed of his comments - also said that the victim’s mental impairment didn’t make him any more physically vulnerable.

The other lawyer, Paul Keegan, was just as bad - in my honest opinion - when he said in court yesterday that his client only dished out two punches to the victim which he described as being “not a high level of involvement”.

Now I get that lawyers have a job to do. But these comments in court were absolutely shameful. They not only disrespected the victim, they tried to minimise the impact of this vicious assault on this innocent guy.

An innocent guy whose only wrongdoing was getting up that morning and putting on a red sweatshirt.

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