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Comancheros gang president Pasilika Naufahu has sentence reduced

Published in 1%er News

Pasilika Naufahu was jailed for his part in a drug and money laundering scheme.
RICKY WILSON/STUFF Pasilika Naufahu was jailed for his part in a drug and money laundering scheme.

The president of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club has had a year knocked off his jail term.

Naufahu was jailed for 10 years by Justice Graham Lang in February over his role in a “sophisticated” money laundering and drugs scheme

But the Court of Appeal has reduced that sentence to nine years.

Naufahu was arrested following a series of raids across Auckland in April 2019, in which more than $3.7 million in assets was seized along with luxury cars, motorbikes, high-end luggage and jewellery.

Naufahu appealed his conviction.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal denied Naufahu’s appeal over the charge of conspiring to supply pseudoephedrine.

However, the Court substituted the gang boss’ 10 year imprisonment to one of nine years.

At trial, Naufahu was found guilty of two charges of money laundering in relation to the purchase of a Bentley and a Ford Ranger.

The gang boss was also found guilty, along with Connor Clausen, of conspiring to supply pseudoephedrine. Clausen had his appeal dismissed earlier this year.

At the Court of Appeal, Ron Mansfield QC argued the statements made by a man who has name suppression, should have been ruled inadmissible because there was an absence of reasonable evidence that Naufahu was a member of the $1m conspiracy to supply pseudoephedrine.

At trial, the Crown said Naufahu was the source of $1m which was meant to be used to purchase pseudoephedrine, but the suppliers withdrew.

A video, taken by police, was played at trial showing the brother of a man who the Crown says is at the “heart of the case” and an Australian hairdresser meeting with Clausen.

Intercepted communications and video taken by police showed the man and Naufahu meeting, but Mansfield QC argued the meetings involved money laundering and not pseudoephedrine.

The Court of Appeal concluded those statements were admissible to prove Naufahu was participating in the conspiracy.

Connor Clausen had his conviction appeal dismissed.
RICKY WILSON/STUFFConnor Clausen had his conviction appeal dismissed.

“We do not accept Mr Naufahu played anything other than a major and significant role in the conspiracy to supply pseudoephedrine.”

On the sentence appeal, Mansfield QC argued Justice Lang gave insufficient credit to reflect the challenges Naufahu has faced.

The Court of Appeal was satisfied the connection between the erosion of Naufahu’s Tongan cultural values and his offending.

This didn’t occur during his upbringing in Sydney, but in 2016 when he was deported to New Zealand under the 501 scheme, without any “meaningful support or guidance”.

The 501 scheme is the the character section of the Australian Migration Act which allows the cancellation of visas.

“Mr Naufahu’s resurrection of his gang affiliations and his resort to offending in Auckland was virtually guaranteed when he was deported to New Zealand.”

The Court of Appeal judges accepted Justice Lang’s 10 per cent discount for cultural factors was appropriate given Naufahu chose to take up the leading role in the Comancheros.

However, they still ruled the end sentence imposed was excessive and substituted the 10 years to one of nine years’ imprisonment.

Location: New Zealand
Writer: Catrin Owen
Source: stuff
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