Two Brothers Brutally Attack Man at Traditional Māori Funeral Rite, Leaving Him Critically Wounded


In a vicious act of violence, a man was left critically wounded and abandoned for two hours before receiving medical assistance after a brutal attack by two brothers at a tangi – the traditional Māori funeral rite. The incident occurred last February when the Ormond brothers, Ryan and Harland, caught wind of the victim’s perceived disrespect towards their late father and his alleged hostile behaviour towards mourners gathered at a residence in Mahia, tucked in northern Hawke’s Bay. The attendees were present to bid farewell to their father, Jose Osborne Ormond, affectionately known as Juicy, who had passed on a day earlier.

The court heard how the victim sustained significant injuries, including intracranial bleeding and fractures to his skull, after the ferocious attack by the siblings, aged 28 and 25 respectively. High Court Justice Christine Grice expressed the tragic irony during the sentencing proceedings that the victim revered their father and was present at the tangi to honour him. The Justice also mentioned that the man was himself mourning the loss.

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She went on to detail the gruesome timeline of the assault. The primary actor in the incident, Ryan, viciously punched, kicked and stomped the victim, focusing on his head and body. His younger sibling also landed punches on the victim’s head, resulting in his loss of consciousness. They then hauled the unconscious man across a road and left him in a ditch, where Justice Grice noted he was subjected to another serious bout of violence at the hands of Ryan before Harland intervened.

Abandoned in the ditch and left without medical aid for over two hours, the victim sustained extensive injuries. These included a grievous brain injury, a punctured lung, multiple fractured ribs, a slashed liver, and extensive bruising throughout his face and body. The brothers did not make any attempts to contact emergency services or seek necessary medical help.

Lying to authorities, Harland claimed to a 111 operator over an hour after the incident, that the victim had ridden his bicycle into the ditch.

The only saving grace in the horrific episode was, as the judge remarked, Harland’s attempt to prevent Ryan from further hurting the helpless victim, potentially averting an even more disastrous outcome. She recognized that both brothers were coping with profound grief over their father’s loss, as well as the influence of alcohol.

Information provided from cultural reports revealed their troubled background, highlighting their socio-economic deprivation and early exposure to substance abuse and violence. The court heard from Harland’s defence, Tiffany Cooper KC, about the elder brother Ryan’s alarming practice of consuming alcohol from the tender age of two.

The incident has left an enduring impact on the victim, leaving him crippled and robbing him of his independence, despite a year’s worth of rehabilitation, Justice Grice noted. The brothers admitted their guilt after hearing the possible sentences.

Ryan received a jail sentence of three and a half years, taking into account his commendable work ethics and leadership skills that came to light while aiding in the district’s cleanup post-Cyclone Gabrielle. Harland was sentenced to ten months of home detention.