A champion New Zealand boxer has been sentenced to more than two years’ imprisonment for manufacturing methamphetamine.
Adrian Toa Taihia, 32, who holds the national super middleweight title, pleaded guilty at the High Court at Auckland in September to one representative charge of being a party to manufacturing methamphetamine.
At the same court today, Justice Susan Thomas sentenced Taihia to two years and six months’ imprisonment.
Crown lawyer Evan McCaughan said Taihia’s sporting prowess proved both a positive and a negative for him.
It was a positive as it suggested that the offending was out of character and he had prospects in the future. However, more was expected of a person of his talent and abilities, Mr McCaughan said.
Taihia was supported in court today by a public gallery almost filled to capacity.
His lawyer Peter Winter said Taihia’s offending was not out of greed, but due to an obligation-based situation where he wanted to pay for his mother-in-law’s funeral, but was not able to due to a shortage of cash.
Mr Winter also noted that Taihia had upcoming fights scheduled for December and January, saying: “He has a lot to lose.”
Justice Thomas said the offending between 2011 and 2012 involved Taihia assisting with the manufacture of methamphetamine, including at one point allowing his home to be used while pseudoephedrine was converted into methamphetamine.
She acknowledged Taihia was a role-model to Polynesian youths in the community and was the current holder of four New Zealand and international boxing titles.
However, she said that did not diminish his culpability and accepted he may lose his titles during his time in prison.
Taihia, whose fighting name is ‘The Terrah’, appeared on the popular reality TV series The Contender in 2009 and claimed the interim Pan Asian Boxing Association light heavyweight title after fighting Samoan journeyman Togasilimai Letoa in May.
Taihia’s co-accused, Isaiah Timothi Keresoma, was today also sentenced for his role in the offending to six years and four months’ imprisonment after earlier pleading guilty to one representative charge of manufacturing methamphetamine, one of supply, one of attempting to manufacture and one of possessing a firearm.
His other co-accused, Daniel Ralph Harvey, received a sentence of one year and one months’ imprisonment and 300 hours community service. Steven Brent Gunbie was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment and Sophia Wilson did not appear.