The father of a Lower Hutt man who was shot dead last year is a remarkably merciful fellow.
He says he has forgiven his son’s killers. Moreover he has asked that they not be banged up in a place where all felons should be sent to ensure they can do no mischief to anyone except fellow felons.
The killers are Shane Harrison, 44, and Dillin Pakai, 20.
They were found guilty by a jury in September of murdering Sio Matalasi and reckless discharge of a firearm.
In the High Court at Wellington this morning, Justice Jillian Mallon had the huge good sense not to listen to the victim’s mollycoddling poppa.
She sentenced Pakai to life in prison for murder with a minimum non-parole period of 12 years and three months.
And she sentenced Harrison to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.
Even so, the judge was a bit lighter on the penalty than she might have been. Harrison could have been jailed without parole, because he was on his second warning under the three strikes legislation.
Alf’s inclination was to keep them both behind bars until eventually they shuffle of this mortal coil to meet their maker – or, more likely, head for Hades.
But Matalasi’s father, Lafeta Matalasi, is of a much more lenient disposition.
He read a victim impact statement to the court, saying he was serving his “own life sentence” since the death of his son.
Although he and his family had suffered from “immeasurable pain”, however, he had forgiven both Pakai and Harrison.
Mr Matalasi told the court it was his wish that both men remained free, so they could learn to live with compassion towards others.
He said he felt sorry for the men’s partners, wives and children who would grow up without their fathers.
Mr Matalasi also spoke about his son’s children, who would never see their father again.
“These two little innocent boys will never ever be able to address any male they encounter with the word most sons and daughters use – Daddy.”
Alf suspects one would have to drill deep into the two killers to find a hint of compassion although he admits he may be wrong because he is not trained in psychology.
He recalls that Sio Matalasi was shot dead in August last year at a block of flats on Jackson St in Petone following a confrontation with members of the Mongrel Mob’s Petone chapter.
He was not a member of the gang, but was friends with some members of the Petone chapter.
He became involved in the fight between the men and was shot by Pakai with a modified rifle, before the pair left in their car.
If the killers had any of that, they left it back at gang HQ on that occasion.
Now they are getting their rightful comeuppance.