Our society values fish more than it does life itself

via Imgur

via Imgur

A trout poacher has been jailed for four months – about 18 months after he was found guilty of the original charges.

David Pake Leef, 37, was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court yesterday to three months’ jail on charges of disturbing a spawning ground, possessing a net in a vicinity where sports fish congregated and taking the fish. The charges were brought by the Department of Conservation.

He was found guilty of the poaching charges in November 2014, but failed to appear in court for sentencing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Yesterday he pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to appear in court and was sentenced to an additional one month in prison on those charges.

His co-offender Thomas Tawha was sentenced to 12 months in jail in April, 2015.

So poach some fish, and go to jail.   What happens when you take someone’s life?

A Porirua woman has been sentenced to 12 months home detention for killing her partner during a domestic violence incident in a possible legal first.

Mother of five, Aaliyah Tagatauli, has previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter after stabbing Mura Tagatauli in the leg last March, he later died in Wellington Hospital.

Justice Clifford said he has not seen, or been able to find a case where manslaughter by stabbing led to a sentence of home detention.


The drunk driver responsible for claiming the life of 23-year-old Luke MacKenzie today avoided jail — and he has the victim’s family to thank for that.

“We didn’t wish that he and his family were tormented any more than was absolutely necessary,” Martin MacKenzie, Luke’s father, said of Xingyu Shang.

Luke, a young Air New Zealand employee, was driving to work early one Monday morning in February 2014 when Shang was drunk behind the wheel and crashed into him on Chapel Rd in south Auckland.

Instead of going to see if Luke was okay, Shang ran off and hitched a ride home.

“How we feel can never be expressed,” Mr MacKenzie says. “The loss of Luke is sad, but in particular the way in which we lost him, to drink driving.”

Three days before the case was meant to go to trial, Shang pleaded guilty to careless driving while under the influence and failing to stop after the crash.

While Luke’s parents don’t forgive Shang, they know holding a grudge won’t bring their son back — so in a rare move, they requested the 27-year-old stay out of jail.

This morning he was sentence to nine months’ home detention.

You can steal $100,000 from someone, even by cheating the IRD, and you’ll have trouble just to get that person inside a court room.  But mess with the country’s fish stock, and you’ll lose your car, boat, gear, and even your freedom.


– various


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  • JohnO

    The penalty for messing with the fish stock is good. The other penalties are way too small and manifestly unjust.

  • cassandra

    The penalties for fishing illegally have to be high as there is very little chance of being caught and some crimes, such as poaching paua, can be very lucrative. So the law makers have probably been pretty smart giving judges the ability to put people in jail, but this judge has not concluded, as many would have, that fishing for trout with a net, although stupid, should be way down on the continuum of seriousness. Mind you, the behaviour of this guy feeing the judicial system suggests he is a ratbag and the other guy has got a bigger sentence so presumably he is less of an angel.

    • Pouching paua might be lucrative, but I can’t understand why someone who killed my child because he chose to drink and drive can get home detention. Something is out of whack here.

  • HunuaRanger

    The discretionary powers that judges have when it comes to sentencing is ridiculous.
    In NZ the current maximum sentence for manslaughter is LIFE, the fact that judges can hand out home detention in such cases is madness.
    In the case of murder, Judges have no choice and a minimum sentence is Life with a non parole of 10 years.
    A review of sentencing in cases of manslaughter is well past due.

  • Positan

    What about the indescribably extreme Auckland penalty for moving a garage without consent?