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Street fight ends in court

Two young women involved in an impulsive street fight that led to punches, kicks and one man being stabbed, were given a community-based sentence by a judge in Gisborne District Court.

Jasmine Atarea Tiopira and Chepar Brown-Hollis, each faced a charge of assault with intent to injure.

Crown prosecutor Cameron Stuart said the two were part of a group who had indulged in an impulsive street fight, in which four people were injured with bruising and cuts.

Mr Stuart said that apart from the stabbing, Tiopira and Brown-Hollis were equally responsible for all violence that occurred — a can of beer being thrown, punches to the head and kicking.

The Crown had concerns regarding the attitudes of the defendants following the offending, namely their sense of entitlement and denial.

Mr Stuart said there were identifiable aggravating factors — attacks to the head, the vulnerability of the victims, and multiple offenders and victims.

The Crown proposed a sentence start point of 18-24 months imprisonment.

Judge Turitea Bolstad said it was serious offending and there was nothing in the submissions to illustrate that the two were sorry.

A restorative justice conference was not able to go ahead because the victims did not want to attend.

The two main concerns highlighted were attitude and lack of remorse.

Speaking for Brown-Hollis, counsel Vicki Thorpe said there were mitigating factors since the reports before the court were written.

The early guilty pleas and willingness to attend restorative justice had a remorse element. This showed an intention to apologise.

Brown-Hollis had a relationship with the person who had perpetrated the serious violence.

That fairly long-standing relationship was finished completely, Ms Thorpe said. She had taken a significant step.

“She has moved on in her life and has gained employment.”

Had there not been that relationship, the offending would not have happened, Ms Thorpe said.

She proposed a start point of 15-18 months imprisonment and sought an electronically-monitored sentence for her client — community detention with supervision.

On behalf of Tiopira, counsel Alistair Clarke said many of the concerns arose from an outdated report before the court.

Tiopira was a young single mother juggling childcare responsibilities.

She had been on EM bail for about a year and was managing her life subject to a strict regime.

He submitted a start point similar to that proposed by Ms Thorpe.

Mr Clarke said when determining the length of the sentence, consideration should be given to time spent on EM bail.

An agreed summary of facts said on May 8 last year, a group of family members and friends were walking home from a birthday party.

The two defendants, with a group of four, thought the family and friends were laughing at and mocking them.

Hollis-Brown threw a can of beer at them, which initiated the fight. The defendants’ associates circled around them. This further developed into victims being punched.

One fell to the ground. Tiopira and Brown-Hollis, along with other associates, kicked him in the head and body.

One offender had a knife and one of the victims was stabbed.

Judge Bolstad said this showed how easily the incident could have become out of hand.

“You are lucky. If he had died, you would be charged with an offence that would not see you at home. You need to be careful and mindful.”

Taking all factors and submissions into account, Judge Bolstad sentenced Brown-Hollis to six months community detention and 12 months supervision.

Tiopira was accredited for the time she spent on EM bail. Judge Bolstad sentenced her to four months community detention and 12 months supervision.

A condition of supervision is to not associate with or contact any of the victims.