Man acquitted of role in broken leg attack

Gisborne Courthouse. File picture by Rebecca Grunwell

A MAN accused of a roadside beating in which he was said to have stomped on another man’s leg until it snapped, has been acquitted by a jury in Gisborne District Court.

The jury cleared Brook Adrian Singh of a charge of injuring with intent to injure.

On May 29, 2015, complainant Regan Rutherford had been drinking alcohol with others for several hours at a social gathering with his then-girlfriend Ebony Wharehinga, members of her family – including Singh’s co-accused Abram Wharehinga, 23, and Mr Singh who he met for the first time that night.

As he left to go home along Huxley Road in the early hours next morning, Mr Rutherford said he was attacked from behind and badly assaulted. He suffered a fractured eye socket and a spiral fracture to his leg. He needed surgery for both.

He told the court those injuries still seriously impacted on his life.

No one was charged in relation to the eye injury, but Singh and Abram Wharehinga were each charged with injuring with intent to injure in relation to the leg injury.

Wharehinga, a witness in the Crown case against Singh, pleaded guilty a week before Singh’s trial and was sentenced on the basis of being no more than a party to the offence — that he had incited Singh to carry out the violence but had not physically inflicted any himself.

Mr Rutherford said he knew Singh was his attacker because of the distinctive boots Singh was wearing and had skited about that night. Mr Rutherford said his attacker was wearing those boots.

At trial, Singh’s lawyer Adam Simperingham put it to the complainant Mr Rutherford that he was naming Singh as the offender to avoid blaming any members of his then-girlfriend Ebony Wharehinga’s family.

Rutherford laughed off the suggestion and said, “come on mate . . . when you get hurt, you tell the truth, you don’t try to beat around the bush and try to protect people.

“I’ve got myself to protect, you know. And they (the clients) must pay quite a bit for you to come and talk shit, eh? You’re laughing.”

Ebony Wharehinga, also called as a Crown witness, was unco-operative.

She eventually confirmed her earlier statement to police in which she said Singh had commented to her some time after the attack that it was his doing that Mr Rutherford was in hospital.

“. . . because I crushed his leg”, Ms Wharehinga claimed Singh said to her.

Giving evidence, Singh said he had been framed for the offence by members of the Wharehinga family because he was the outsider at the gathering.

He claimed Ebony Wharehinga’s sister Shandee played a role in the attack. She was sitting on top of Mr Rutherford as he lay on the ground, and repeatedly punching him about the face, Singh claimed in evidence.

(The Crown earlier withdrew a charge against Shandee Wharehinga)

Mr Simperingham told jurors they would need to consider several issues as they listened to the evidence, including who might have a motive for hurting Mr Rutherford and what motive Rutherford might have for displacing responsibility from that person on to Singh.

Singh emphatically denied hurting Mr Rutherford. What motive could he have had?

The jury should consider the dynamic between Mr Rutherford and the Wharehinga family. Was Mr Rutherford’s relationship with Ebony always loving or sometimes violent? How did members of Ebony’s family feel about that?

Did they welcome Mr Rutherford among them or did they despise him and have a motive to hurt him?

Jurors also needed to consider medical evidence. Was it possible the spiral fracture to Mr Rutherford’s leg could only be due to him being stomped on? Or was it consistent with another mechanism, such as falling?

A MAN accused of a roadside beating in which he was said to have stomped on another man’s leg until it snapped, has been acquitted by a jury in Gisborne District Court.

The jury cleared Brook Adrian Singh of a charge of injuring with intent to injure.

On May 29, 2015, complainant Regan Rutherford had been drinking alcohol with others for several hours at a social gathering with his then-girlfriend Ebony Wharehinga, members of her family – including Singh’s co-accused Abram Wharehinga, 23, and Mr Singh who he met for the first time that night.

As he left to go home along Huxley Road in the early hours next morning, Mr Rutherford said he was attacked from behind and badly assaulted. He suffered a fractured eye socket and a spiral fracture to his leg. He needed surgery for both.

He told the court those injuries still seriously impacted on his life.

No one was charged in relation to the eye injury, but Singh and Abram Wharehinga were each charged with injuring with intent to injure in relation to the leg injury.

Wharehinga, a witness in the Crown case against Singh, pleaded guilty a week before Singh’s trial and was sentenced on the basis of being no more than a party to the offence — that he had incited Singh to carry out the violence but had not physically inflicted any himself.

Mr Rutherford said he knew Singh was his attacker because of the distinctive boots Singh was wearing and had skited about that night. Mr Rutherford said his attacker was wearing those boots.

At trial, Singh’s lawyer Adam Simperingham put it to the complainant Mr Rutherford that he was naming Singh as the offender to avoid blaming any members of his then-girlfriend Ebony Wharehinga’s family.

Rutherford laughed off the suggestion and said, “come on mate . . . when you get hurt, you tell the truth, you don’t try to beat around the bush and try to protect people.

“I’ve got myself to protect, you know. And they (the clients) must pay quite a bit for you to come and talk shit, eh? You’re laughing.”

Ebony Wharehinga, also called as a Crown witness, was unco-operative.

She eventually confirmed her earlier statement to police in which she said Singh had commented to her some time after the attack that it was his doing that Mr Rutherford was in hospital.

“. . . because I crushed his leg”, Ms Wharehinga claimed Singh said to her.

Giving evidence, Singh said he had been framed for the offence by members of the Wharehinga family because he was the outsider at the gathering.

He claimed Ebony Wharehinga’s sister Shandee played a role in the attack. She was sitting on top of Mr Rutherford as he lay on the ground, and repeatedly punching him about the face, Singh claimed in evidence.

(The Crown earlier withdrew a charge against Shandee Wharehinga)

Mr Simperingham told jurors they would need to consider several issues as they listened to the evidence, including who might have a motive for hurting Mr Rutherford and what motive Rutherford might have for displacing responsibility from that person on to Singh.

Singh emphatically denied hurting Mr Rutherford. What motive could he have had?

The jury should consider the dynamic between Mr Rutherford and the Wharehinga family. Was Mr Rutherford’s relationship with Ebony always loving or sometimes violent? How did members of Ebony’s family feel about that?

Did they welcome Mr Rutherford among them or did they despise him and have a motive to hurt him?

Jurors also needed to consider medical evidence. Was it possible the spiral fracture to Mr Rutherford’s leg could only be due to him being stomped on? Or was it consistent with another mechanism, such as falling?

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the $6 million proposal for Rugby Park, which includes synthetic turf, an athletics track, additional sportsfield, all-weather sports pavilion and conference/function centre?