Killer jailed for fatal attack on brothers

·3-min read

In sixteen seconds of terror 17-year-old Maaka Hakiwai lost his life and his older brother Nate was left wishing he had died too.

The brothers were waiting for a bus in September 2019, heading to the gym, when they became victims of a senseless crime, committed for the "sheer devilry" of committing a robbery.

On Friday their attacker, 20-year-old Joshua Horton, was jailed for 13-and-a-half years over the "extraordinary and unforgivable acts of violence" on the teens.

Maaka and Nate, 19, were newly arrived in Melbourne and preparing for a life with their family together after years of their father working fly in, fly out jobs.

As they waited for their bus a carload of people pulled up with a plan to rob them.

Two teens jumped out - Chol Kur and a then-17-year-old who cannot be named. Kur demanded Nate's crusty old Philadelphia '76ers cap.

The boys scuffled and the younger boy held Maaka in a headlock.

Without warning Horton ran from the car armed with a knife. He went to Maaka first, putting his hand on the boy's shoulder and stabbing him once through the chest.

He then turned on Nate, stabbing him twice in the leg before the trio fled back to the car. From the time Horton got out of the car to the time he got back in, just 16 seconds had passed.

Badly injured, Nate called his father for help. Stirling Hakiwai ran down the street finding his sons blood-soaked on the ground. He tried to hold Maaka's internal organs inside his youngest son's body.

"He did his best to help his two sons and showed courage and great love in doing so," Justice Andrew Tinney said in the Supreme Court.

Maaka could not be saved from his catastrophic injuries. Nate received multiple blood transfusions and was rushed into life-saving surgery.

"There are no words to describe how many lives the three of you have ruined in 16 seconds, including your own," Nate told the three men, through a statement read by his father Stirling Hakiwai, in a pre-sentence hearing.

At Maaka's funeral the boys' grandfather Allan Priester turned to Nate and said "thank God you're still alive".

"I wish I was dead," Nate had replied.

Horton, who was acquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter and intentionally causing serious injury, will be eligible for parole after nine-and-a-half years.

Justice Tinney was not satisfied Horton had showed genuine remorse for his actions, saying apologies to Kur and the other boy in the car were only in response to being chastised by them.

Horton, then 18, had also made "callous" remarks in the car as they fled the scene, asking "did I really just shank them?".

"I'm not satisfied you are, even now, truly remorseful for your crimes," the judge said.

He said Horton had a proven track record of unprovoked violence and had been unwilling to accept previous chances for reform.

"You must understand your actions will have consequences," he said.

Experts found his chances of rehabilitation are poor.

Kur and the other man, now 19, pleaded guilty to robbery.

The younger offender was sentenced on Friday to release on a nine-month youth supervision order, with the judge noting he had already spent time in custody.

Justice Tinney said his actions spoke of "a lack of normal human decency and respect for others". It was unfortunate and concerning that he too has shown no remorse for what he did.

He will need to report as required and do any programs or community service as directed.

Kur will be sentenced at a later date after he was rejected as a suitable candidate for release on a court order.

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