High Court sentences senior Cripps member to five years detention for violent prison assault

Kuo toe tānaki atu ha tautea malu’i ‘i pilisone ‘o Siuaki Lisiate ta’u 5 māhina ua hili hono faka’ilo ia ki he fakatupu lavea lahi ‘i he pilīsone Paremoremo, ‘i ‘Aokalani, Nu’u Sila. Ko Lisiate ko e Tonga pea ko e taki ia ‘o e kau kengi Tongan Crips. Na’e lolotonga tautea ngāue pōpula ia ki he mate he 2011 ko ‘ene tu’utu’uni ke fakapoongi ‘i loto pilīsone ‘a e tangata mēmipa he kau kengi Samoan Bloods he 2009 ko Tue Faavae. Ko e fakapō ko ‘eni ne kaungākau ai ‘a ‘Eneasi Finau mo e tokotaha kehe ‘oku ‘ikai ngofua ke tuku ki tu’a hono hingoa’. ‘Oku pehē ko e Ha’amoa ne fakapōngi’ ne kaila ia ‘i pilisone ‘o poupou’i hono tā lahi ‘o ha mēmipa ‘o e kengi Head Hunters pea’ ne ‘ita ai ‘a Lisiate.

The High Court in Auckland has sentenced Tongan criminal Siuaki Lisiate to five years and two months preventive detention on a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Lisiate, who is a senior member of the Cripps gang,  is already serving a life sentence.

Lisiate had pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him. He and his co-defendants, Te Ariki Poulgrain and Tama Tapine, were serving time in the maximum security wing at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo. 

The victim, Mr Burton, was also a sentenced prisoner in that unit.  Mr Burton has a significant and serious criminal history.  He is also disabled to the extent he has a prosthetic leg.

In his summing up, Judge Venables said Lisiate posed such a threat to the community both within prison and outside prison that a sentence of preventive detention was required.

At around 9.30 am on 11 May 2018 Mr Burton was walking down the landing from his cell towards a cross-passage grill.  As he approached where Mr Tapine was standing Mr Tapine suddenly and without warning punched Mr Burton with a right hook to the face. Mr Burton stumbled back and fell to the ground.

Poulgrain and Lisiate then attacked Burton as he lay on the ground. During the assault he stabbed at Burton more than  40 times.

The attack only stopped when prison officers entered the landing in force.  He and Poulgrain threw down their home made weapons.

Burton was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries.  He sustained a number of stab wounds to his arm and torso and a serious eye injury.

Judge Venning said Lisiate was the product  of a broken home, failure to complete schooling, early abuse of alcohol and drugs and involvement in gangs.

“ It is apparent from all the reports that you are effectively institutionalized,” the judge said.

“You were first imprisoned at the age of 17.  Since then you have amassed about 25 convictions for serious offending.  The offending has escalated from burglary to assault to robbery to aggravated robbery to murder before this present offending.” 

“Regrettably, the causes of your offending are deep- seated within you,” the judge said.

“I consider you to be a high risk of reoffending in a violent way.  You have no insight into your offending.  You lack empathy for victims and the people you harm. “

The judge said It was relevant that Lisiate was already subject to life imprisonment.  The Court could impose a finite sentence for the current offending.  The Court of Appeal had made it clear that life imprisonment was not necessarily a bar to a sentence of preventive detention. 

“I consider your offending in this case to be of sufficient seriousness to warrant the imposition of preventive detention even though you are serving a sentence of life imprisonment.” 

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