Sentencing Act 2002 – Grace Foundation – Crimes Act 1961, ss 1961 and 188(1) – R v Taueki– band two – s 27 cultural report – victim’s views – criminal history
R v Rangirangi  NZHC 1320
After a judge-alone trial, Nui Rangirangi was convicted of one charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Rangirangi and the victim were living at a Grace Foundation boarding house in Mangere, along with approximately eight men, when they got into an altercation over $50. The victim said he had won the fight after punching Rangirangi at least three times to the face and jaw. A short time later, Rangirangi confronted the victim and stabbed him five times with a 30 cm knife. The victim’s skull was fractured, rib broken, and his lung collapsed.
The court considered the offending fell within the second of three bands of proposed starting points established in R v Taueki  NZCA 174. Notably, the victim said several times throughout the trial he did not want to press charges and that he forgave Rangirangi. The court did not consider the victim was under any pressure to say this.
Considering the victim’s forgiveness, the wider context of the offending and the victim’s apparent lack of any significant ongoing effects, the court fixed a starting point of six years’ imprisonment.
In terms of aggravating factors, the court allowed an uplift of three months to reflect Rangirangi’s criminal history, which involved violent offences, and because the offending occurred while he was on bail.
On mitigating factors, the court acknowledged the s 27 cultural report, which described Rangirangi’s childhood as being “filled with violence”, including being beaten with lumps of wood and on one occasion thinking he was going to die.
The report noted Rangirangi began smoking cannabis and sniffing petrol before the age of 10 and first used methamphetamine at age 13. His drug and alcohol abuse was particularly prominent after his father committed suicide when Rangirangi was in his mid-twenties.
Finally, it was noted that Rangirangi takes Ritalin after being diagnosed with ADHD.
The court accepted there was a clear causative link between Rangirangi’s background and the offending. It found a discount of 20% was appropriate to reflect the factors noted in the s 27 report. In addition, the judge allowed a further 13% discount to reflect Rangirangi’s rehabilitative efforts while in prison.
Held: On the charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, Rangirangi was sentenced to four years, three months’ imprisonment.
Jasmine Jackson is an Auckland criminal defence barrister and a member of the ADLS Parole Law committee.