Just when you think our judges could not be more useless…. THIS.

A Whangarei teenager was forced to drop out of university after losing an eye in a drive-by attack with a paintball gun.

The shooter’s jail sentence has been substituted with home detention.

The victim’s family was not even made aware that the man’s appeal was being held.

Shane Paraha had been sent to jail for 25 months when he admitted firing paintball shots at a group of people in central Whangarei.

But a High Court judge has deemed the sentence as “Too tough” and quashed it, replacing it with nine months’ home detention.

From the NZ Hearald:

“Paraha, 19, shot up to 10 rounds from a moving car in an act of revenge on the corner of Bank and Water Sts in Whangarei on December 18 last year.

Five people, waiting for a taxi after coming out of a bar at 2am, were hit, some suffered bruising and a welt after being shot at in the upper body while a female was struck in her left eye.

She has lost sight in that eye and was forced to quit Auckland University of Technology where she was studying to become a physical education teacher”.

While sentencing Paraha in the Whangarei District Court in May, Judge John McDonald said the teenager’s actions had been planned and deliberate and resulted in terrible consequences for the young woman.

Justice Anne Hinton disagreed.

“This was in effect his first offence of its kind and he’s gone to prison for that. Really? I think it’s too tough and it’s counterproductive,” Justice Hinton said.

“We have to give these people a chance. He’s done a terrible thing but I think he needs to be given an opportunity rather than be sent to prison. That’s my view.”

She expressed concern at a lack of support shown to Paraha by his whanau.

“There’s a big divider between young Maori men and those of other races. If this was a young Pakeha man, there’d be six references filed in support,” she said.

Home detention, she said, was not an easy sentence and there have been cases where people ordered to serve time at home have requested prison terms.

Bonus points for crowbarring race in there.

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