Manslaughter – sentencing – youth – use of weapon – premeditation – vulnerability of victim – multiple attackers – starting point seven years, six months’ imprisonment – guilty plea discount – youth discount – personal background discount – remorse discount – end sentence two years, seven-and-a-half months’ imprisonment – released for time served
R v Hanara  NZHC 2057 per Grice J.
Haami Hanara pleaded guilty to manslaughter as a result of his involvement in the death of Kelly Donner.
On the night of 4 March 2018, Hanara and five friends aged between 14 and 16 decided to steal alcohol from the Flaxmere Tavern near Hastings.
Donner, the victim, was 40 years of age and chose to sleep rough. Hanara and his group approached him and asked to borrow his torch to help them locate the alcohol. When Donner asked for the torch back, Hanara refused, which led to the group attacking the victim.
Hanara and Donner ended up in a direct confrontation. Hanara stabbed Donner four timers with a knife, killing him. Hanara was 14.
Grice J identified the following aggravating factors: use of a weapon, vulnerability of a victim (albeit not a high degree) and multiple attackers. This placed Hanara within band two of Taueki (adapted for manslaughter), which attracts a starting point of between five and 10 years’ jail. However, Grice J said because this was a “concerted street attack”, Hanara fell within the medium to upper end of band two. A starting point of seven years, six months’ imprisonment was adopted.
Grice J then considered aggravating and mitigating factors. While the offending occurred when Hanara was on bail, and one of the offenders was a co-offender, the judge did not impose an uplift to Hanara’s sentence. He received the full 25% discount for a guilty plea, as well as a 15% discount for youth in accordance with Dickey v R.
Hanara got a further discount of 20% to account for disadvantage from his upbringing, which the judge described as being characterised by neglect, mental deprivation, violence, gang activity and drugs. Hanara also had several mental impariments. He received a further 5% discount for his “sincere and genuine remorse”.
Applicable principles: Aggravating and mitigating factors in sentencing – Dickey v R discounts for youth offending – relevance of background factors in sentencing – relevance of mental impairment in offending – principle of totality.
Held: End sentence of two years and seven-and-a-half months’ imprisonment. Hanara was credited with five years for time already served, meaning the final sentence was lower than time served. He was entitled to immediate release.
The standard release conditions were imposed for six months, as well as any special condition imposed by Hanara’s probation officer.
Jamie Dierick is a law clerk working for an Auckland criminal defence barrister.