Years ago

Southland Sharks (NZNBL) Players plead guilty

Young Breaker SF Rueban TeRangi, former Breakers swingman Leon Henry & Sharks player Shea Lli have all admitted being involved in a brawl with Nightclub Security in New Plymouth after a NZNBL match between Southland & Taranaki.
The trio appeared in court in New Plymouth this morning where they all plead guilty to charges of assault with intent to injure.
Henry & Lli also faced a charge each of injuring with intent which they also plead guilty to.

All 3 have applied for a discharge without conviction and TeRangi & Lli have offered to take part in a restorative justice conference with the victims.

TeRangi's youth & previous good behaviour, community service as a Breakers member & then his involvement with the Tall Blacks will be taken into consideration by the presiding judge when deciding upon his fate.

I can't see him at his age with such a promising career ahead of him being thrown under a bus by the legal system. Still it's a huge lesson for him & the rest of the NZNBL players & organisers to have a long hard think about.

Topic #34702 | Report this topic

Tiger Watcher  
Years ago

If he belted someone should be convicted regardless of age!

The true lesson will be learned when he can't play in countries outside of NZ due to a conviction.

Reply #479449 | Report this post

Years ago

lets see if he is cut by the breakers he should be taught a lesson

Reply #479451 | Report this post

Years ago

IMO, he won't be cut and they will support him.

But it would be a classic example of double standards, given the fact they cut BJ Anthony for legal/behavioural issues.

Reply #479452 | Report this post

Years ago

"If he belted someone should be convicted regardless of age!

The true lesson will be learned when he can't play in countries outside of NZ due to a conviction."

so you are saying every school yard scuffle should end in a criminal conviction?

He is young with his whole life ahead of him, why wreck what could potentially be a great professional basketball career because of the 1 big mistake he has currently made in his young life? If he was a repeat offender then I would have a different opinion of him but he isn't.
NZ has been letting rugby players get away with much worse for years so how about they cut this kid a bit of slack. It's not like he won't be punished, he'll be expected to spend every free minute for some time doing community service for the Breakers & Southland Sharks.

In NZ we have diversion for young offenders and then there is also a section 19 discharge without conviction for more serious charges or when the diversion has already been used. Being the more serious "assault with intent to injure" he won't qualify for diversion, hence the application for a discharge without conviction.
This is not a special request, it is the norm in the NZ legal system.

Reply #479474 | Report this post

Years ago

Which shows how sad the NZ "justice" system is...

Reply #479485 | Report this post

Tiger Watcher  
Years ago

I guess NZ it might be different but really once your old enough to vote and go to nightclubs your old enough to accept the adult penalty that comes with being an adult.

We are always looking for an excuse for people.....if he was just another punter belting blokes in a club what would the outcome be?

Reply #479487 | Report this post

Years ago

IT was not a school yard thing it was a serious act which could have been a fatal act then what give him a slap on the wrist send him to his room he had been drinking not in control what jf it was you he belted then what he needs to be punished by the breakers

Reply #479491 | Report this post

Years ago

Wouldn't be surprised if Te Rangi and Ili get discharged without conviction, but Henry is a goner - he's getting charged and that'll likely be the end of his pro career.

Reply #479499 | Report this post

Years ago

I look forward to the day you all make a mistake and then I can jump on the "throw the book at him" bandwagon and laugh at your misfortune.

Reply #479500 | Report this post

Years ago

He is young with his whole life ahead of him, why wreck what could potentially be a great professional basketball career
I understand that sometimes punishment doesn't give the best outcome, but you could probably ask him that above question - he's the one responsible for both his basketball career and the action that jeopardises it.

Reply #479503 | Report this post

Years ago

He was also with older team mates who could have set a much better example and under the influence of alcohol which never helps to make good decisions.
I'm not saying he is without guilt as he obviously pleaded guilty to the charges.

I live in South Auckland and much much worse stuff goes down every day of the week.

Reply #479509 | Report this post

Years ago

Mystro exactly and it goes on because judicial systems are way to soft on offenders. If the judicial system gave harsher penalties they may think twice before committing a crime. People must be made accountable for their actions if they choose to break the law. Hard lesson to learn, but if they don't get the punishment they will never learn until it's too late and someone gets killed, then many lives are destroyed. Being an elite athlete is a privilege not a right of passage and as such comes the responsibility to lead by example.

Reply #479512 | Report this post

Years ago

That's it though, these punishments don't address the problem, just introduce these kids to worse criminals and then that cycle gets way worse.

The Breakers owners aren't the type to smack him on the wrist and hug it out either.

Their will be tons of hurdles and conditions placed on him by the Breakers if he is to continue to play for them, look at what Corey Webster went through to regain their (Paul & Liz Blackwell) trust and what he did wasn't against the law just banned in sport.

The law allows for him to get the benefit of the doubt and a get a second chance just like every other person in NZ and I believe he will be successful in getting a discharge without conviction.

I think Leon Henry may be a different story, more serious charges & older. No ones going to jail but I don't think he'll get off without a conviction which will effect travelling with his Mrs who is a recording artist especially back to the States.

Reply #479516 | Report this post

Years ago

The "discharge without conviction" is ridiculous. It is common for athletes in NZ to get off on this - if the harm resulting from the conviction outweighs the gravity of the offending, they can get off. So lawyers get up in court, argue that the conviction would prevent the athlete from competing overseas, which would harm their livelihood and deprive them of an income (which I don't see frankly as they can play in NZ and earn money here).

Would love to see a non-athlete test the discharge without conviction precedent. If a businessman gets done for something, shouldn’t their lawyer be able to get up to the stand and say “my client is a professional at what he does (just as an athlete) and has business employment opportunities overseas. If an athlete can use a DWC because of the resulting harm on their employment opportunities, shouldn’t any professional be able to do this”. Henry will be gone – which would be ironic given his partner is based in the USA (won’t be getting in there anytime soon). Societal/public reaction to a DWC would be strong – NZ is trying hard to curb the drinking/violence culture. The public, regardless of Te Rangi’s figure, would not see well to him getting a DWC for an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years. I am a little more open to the use of a DWC with drink driving – because I believe that is an issue which can be dealt with restoratively and it is generally victimless.

A conviction of “intent to injure” is a totally different story – it is an extremely serious offence, there are victims (hospitalised victims I might add) and should be dealt with retributively. Rehabilitating offenders should always be the way, but why it co-exist with retributive justice. i.e. punish them serverely first, then rehabilitate them, rather than using it as an easy way out. Apologies for the rant.

Reply #479548 | Report this post

Years ago

Sounds pretty brutal when you read this article from the court reports on what these guys did:

Three Southland Shark basketballers are deciding whether to ask the courts not to convict them despite pleading guilty to violent attacks outside New Plymouth's Crowded House Bar last month. After leaving their victims unconscious, broken and bloodied, Leon Henry, 28, Reuben Te Rangi, 19, and Shea Ili, 21, fled back to their hotel in the early hours of May 25.

In the New Plymouth District Court yesterday, the men, through their lawyers, Susan Hughes QC, for Te Rangi and Ili, and Paul Keegan, for Henry, asked Judge Geoffrey Ellis not to enter convictions on the five counts to allow time to decide if a case would be made for discharges without conviction.

After police caught up with them, the three were charged with a total of five assaults against the bar staff and others in the early hours of May 25.

Only hours before the debacle, the basketballers had been part of the winning team which beat the Taranaki Mountain Airs in the final minutes by 83-81.

The most serious charge, injuring with intent to injure, attracts a maximum five-year prison sentence.

The three have clean records which could keep them out of jail.

Henry admitted two counts of injuring with intent and assault with intent to injure.

Ili pleaded guilty to assault with intent and common assault while Te Rangi admitted assault with intent to injure.

The police summaries show that earlier in the night Henry, who was unhappy that his team members were refused entry at various bars, had become abusive.

He was warned by police to behave.

Matters boiled over about 2.30am when they were refused entry to Crowded House by doorman Terry Ngaia.

Henry argued and walked off only to return a few minutes later.

He approached Ngaia, apologised and shook his hand then, without warning, punched Ngaia in the face with a closed fist knocking him to the ground.

A scuffle immediately developed between Henry, the two other basketballers and members of the public.

He was seen to punch an unknown person twice, the summary says.

Henry then went up to another bar staff member Kieren Johansen, punching him in the jaw from behind knocking him unconscious.

Henry turned back to Ngaia who got to his feet only to be knocked down to the ground by Te Rangi.

Henry grabbed the prone Ngaia pulled him toward himself before kicking him in the head.

Ngaia suffered cuts, abrasions and bruising on his face and head while Johansen suffered a sore jaw after being knocked unconscious for a short time.

Ili was approached by bar manager Maxwell O'Leary who came out and tried to break up the scuffle.

Ili pulled away and on to the roadway before rushing forward and punching O'Leary with a closed fist in the chest causing O'Leary to fall to knees.

Ili then approached another bar staff member Jackie Miller who was holding a person involved in the scuffle.

Ili kicked Miller striking him in the head and tried to kick him again but missed.

O'Leary suffered bruising to his sternum and soreness on his back. Miller suffered bruising on his face and body.

Te Rangi punched another bouncer during the melee and punched Ngaia twice in the head, knocking him to the ground. Te Rangi also stomped on Ngaia, who was already on the ground after Henry had kicked him.

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When members the public and security staff from nearby bars intervened, Henry, Ili and Te Rangi ran off to their hotel.

The judge bailed the three to return to court for sentencing on August 1.

No convictions were entered but the judge ordered full pre-sentence reports, including electronically monitored penalties. The judge gave no indication what the sentencing outcome might be. Bail conditions for Henry were changed to allow for his relocation from Invercargill to Wellington.


The Crowded House staff involved in the attack said they are not interested in hearing an apology from their attackers.

Yesterday about 15 bar staff and supporters sat in the public gallery of the New Plymouth District Court to hear the three basketballers in the dock plead guilty to a total of five assaults.

In court, the trio's lawyers, Susan Hughes, QC and Paul Keegan, asked for time for their clients to approach their victims to attempt a restorative justice conference.

Outside court after the short hearing, the Crowded House group said they had together decided against attending a restorative justice meeting with their attackers.

"The incident was foul enough so why would we let them talk their way out of it?" bar manager Max O'Leary said.

An angry Jack Miller, 38, is still on crutches as a result of the attack, his foot in a moon boot for another two weeks.

The former Crowded House worker had been working 70 hours a week as a truck driver "and now I'm doing nothing and only got 80 per cent of my income which is bullshit".

He saw a meeting as a waste of time and he did not trust himself not to leap across the table to take his own action against them.

"I'd just get in trouble with them."

Terry Ngaia, 41, was punched, kicked and stomped on.

He said the basketballers had lost it because he wouldn't let them into the bar "because they were causing trouble at the other bars".

Ngaia said he had been socialising with his son at Our Place just before starting work at Crowded House and saw one giving the bouncer there a hard time, calling him a "bitch".

"I jumped in to defuse the situation. He stormed off down the road.

"So I told him he wasn't coming in [to Crowded House] because he was being a dick."

Crowded House bar owner Doc Van Praagh said he was very pleased for his staff at the guilty pleas.

"It will take the stress off these guys. It's been hard for them."

While he did not want to see the basketballers' careers ruined, they needed to accept their punishment and then get on with their lives.

"I'm happy they accepted it rather than trying to talk their way out of it."

O'Leary said he took a punch in the chest from Ili and suffered cracked ribs.

He was pleased to see that high-end charges were laid.

"It was brutal attack and the seriousness needs to be recognised."

But he was unsure whether he wanted to see them jailed.

"I would like to see Basketball New Zealand make a stand and recognise the fact it was unacceptable behaviour that should be dealt with appropriately."

- Taranaki Daily News

Reply #479550 | Report this post

Years ago

Sure mystro, the next time I get drunk and attack someone with a bunch of my mates you can laugh at me. Oh wait, I'm a responsible adult who respects the law and other people, so yeah, you might be waiting a while...

Reply #479553 | Report this post

Years ago

Disgraceful. heavier from anyone, but for paid athletes in the public eye who young aspiring athletes and members of the general public look up too it's absolutely unacceptable. They should throw the book at them as a very firm statement that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated. Serves them right if their international chances are finished they don't deserve those opportunities. And all who think they should be let off easy, if it happened to you or your loved ones would you still think the same, I doubt it very much.

Reply #479554 | Report this post

Years ago

Henry and Te Rangi deserve the book thrown at them going by that write-up, especially Henry. Act like an animal, get in a cage. Woeful behaviour.

I wouldn't go easy on Te Rangi after this:

Te Rangi punched another bouncer during the melee and punched Ngaia twice in the head, knocking him to the ground. Te Rangi also stomped on Ngaia, who was already on the ground after Henry had kicked him.

Reply #479559 | Report this post

Years ago

The question for me is: was Te Rangi caught up in a fight started by someone else and react badly in a melee situation, or did he step into the situation and conduct those acts.

Which one of those two applies good have a big impact on the severity of sentence, and I thought I read somewhere there was video footage so it could be clear for the court to see.

Reply #479564 | Report this post

Years ago

Regardless of who started it , he could have tried to stop it but instead he joined in, no sympathy

Reply #479568 | Report this post

Years ago

There should be repercussions either way, but I think a court might look at it differently if the fight came to him than if he went to the fight. It's two different thought processes.

Reply #479569 | Report this post

King Podge  
Years ago

I dont care if they're athletes. Anyone engaging in that level of violence, seemingly without a care for human life, needs to be punished with the full weight of the law.

I no NZ law expert but how can convictions not be recorded for a crime this bad?

Reply #479578 | Report this post

Years ago

The breakers have released a statement on their website in regards to Rueban

Reply #479580 | Report this post

Years ago

"Sure mystro, the next time I get drunk and attack someone with a bunch of my mates you can laugh at me. Oh wait, I'm a responsible adult who respects the law and other people, so yeah, you might be waiting a while..."

who said it had to be for fighting?
Hopefully you and your mates have a couple of cans too many after work, get breath tested, lose you license & with it your job like many other "responsible adults" who respect the law & other people. I would have a decent laugh for ya.

Reply #479586 | Report this post

Years ago

"I no NZ law expert but how can convictions not be recorded for a crime this bad?"

In theory it shouldn't. The Discharge without Conviction application shouldn't apply here, but we don't have any previous precedent to guide us. My answer would be no, certainly not.

Te Rangi will not play for the Breakers this season, and I”ll tell you why. A strict sentence and he is looking at a prison term (doubt it). The most logical sentence would be home detention (max can be 12 months) of probably around 6-8 months. Whilst in Home Detention, he certainly would not be an active Breakers player.

Sentencing is set for August; by the time Te Rangi's HD ends, it will probably be February-April. As a guideline, a guy I know (first time offending) got 8 months HD just for assault - this is more serious than that

Reply #479597 | Report this post

Years ago

Home detention is not a sentence it's merely an inconvenience , and certainly no deterrent, he will still be able to see his family friends and carry on in the comfort of home. They need harsher penalties than that surely

Reply #479602 | Report this post

Nathan of Perth  
Years ago

Sheesh, that's a bit more serious than I had thought it was. Very dumb, destructive stuff from the young fools.

Reply #479604 | Report this post

Years ago

The Video evidence must not have made for good viewing for the players.

If there was even the slightest bit of doubt, you would enter a NG plea and contest.

The fact they entered a Guilty plea probably means the video evidence (the actions prescribing each charge) was clear as day.

Reply #479606 | Report this post

Years ago

I thought the Breakers statement was a bit soft given that he plead guilty. There's redemption and then there's standing him down and giving the opportunity to someone else until Te Rangi has proven this won't be happening again. As noted, past Breakers have been stood down for less.

Reply #479611 | Report this post

Years ago

The previous cases had a string of poor form, and form that actually impacted on their ability to perform their job. I imagine the club is waiting on this one is the fact Te Rangi has been a good citizen for a long time.

Marley Williams is back playing with Collingwood soon after his conviction, and I'm not sure the Breakers will stand Te Rangi down unless the court's decision makes it so he can't play.

Reply #479613 | Report this post

Years ago

Ahhh mystro, keep defending the indefensible. What one of the guys have to be into a coma for you to think they should get away with it?

Reply #479630 | Report this post

Years ago

Where have I defended the actions of these individuals or said that assaulting people is ok? Have I said they are not guilty?

What I am saying is the youngest offender with the most to lose, who by all accounts behaved way out character, who also has an otherwise unblemished record, does not deserve to be thrown to the wolves and should get the same legal defence that was afforded to myself and plenty of other young New Zealanders growing up so we could turn ourselves around and contribute to society in a positive way.

Reply #479637 | Report this post

Years ago

And there's the rub - I think people who participate in gang bashings and try to kick/stomp people who can't protect themselves DO deserve to be thrown to the wolves. Whether it is "in character" (every thugs defence) or not.

Reply #479645 | Report this post

Years ago

Maybe his dad will go on social media and get him off seems to be what goes on at the Breakers these days

Reply #479661 | Report this post

Years ago

I've always enjoyed your posts mystro but after reading your thoughts about this I'm sorry, but I've lost all respect for you. Not that I expect you to care, but there it is.

I understand you're passionate about NZ basketball, but your attitude toward this is disgraceful.

Reply #479728 | Report this post

Years ago

I think Mystro is talking about how things actually are in New Zealand, rather than how they ideally should be.

Reply #479731 | Report this post

Years ago

Ili and Henry have been sentenced:

Reply #485793 | Report this post

Years ago

here's a follow up article for anyone who may be interested.

Reply #502118 | Report this post


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