The District Court in Christchurch, New Zealand has ordered a sentence for the second time to 33-year-old Teariki Adrian Kura. His punishment of four years and five months will now be served officially as all charges have been applied to the sentence. He has been sitting in jail for over two years awaiting this verdict for ordering 28 grams of methamphetamine through the dark web. Now he will also go to prison with charges of illegal fire arms possession, but no increases in time to be served.
His drugs were sourced originally from Mexico which is a hotbed for synthetic drug sales worldwide. The initial sentence was particularly harsh before the gun charge was applied. It is interesting that it did not add more time to be served. This gun was seized from Kura’s residence, together with shell casings and two sets of weighing scales contaminated with methamphetamine but not applied initially to the case.
Christchurch has a long history of dark web drug abuse, as well as greater New Zealand over the last two years.
On August 31, 2016, customs agents intercepted a parcel from Mexico at the Auckland International Mail Centre which led to Kura’s home. The warrant was executed in September 2016 with the successful arrest of the culprit.
Bruce Berry, the Customs Investigations Manager, thanked the New Zealand Police for their cooperation and further declared: “Importing any amount of drugs via the darknet or by any other means is a serious offense, which carries significant consequences.”
Teariki Kura was already well known to the police after being convicted for two aggravated injuries in 2008 and in 2012 for aggravated robbery. Although he played a non-violent and secondary role in the robbery, it led to a two year jail sentence and a permanent criminal record.
But perhaps a reformed man was in court recently. After waiting for an official verdict, Teariki Kura apologized to the court upon hearing his latest sentence of four years and five months for dark web drug dealing. In the past he has been held almost in contempt of court for his lewd behavior and unkind language. His pre-sentencing records depict Kura as an entitled individual with an alternative and unregulated lifestyle which never exhibited regret for his past deeds. On the other hand, he was also seen as a family man who tried to protect and educate his son on how to not become like himself.
Upon hearing his initial verdict back in April 10th, he shouted profanities without end. He dropped multiple f-bombs and called outloud “bullshit” to the judge. Chants of “he’s not guilty” started to come from the public viewing area. The scene was chaotic for a moment. Another woman starting shouting “Liars!” to the jurors. District Court Judge Gary MacAskill had to intervene several times, advising Kura that “you are not making it any better for yourself.” Nonetheless, the shouting continued over the judge’s repeated requests for silence. More so, the woman stood up from her seat and began advancing towards the court dock but was promptly halted by a court officer. The Judge decided to escort the whole jury to safety as a precaution, while the woman was forcefully removed from the court hall. Mr. Kura was also resent, sobbing, left in custody.
After a while, the jury was reseated. Judge MacAskill apologized for the dramatic incident, which in his opinion, is part of an ever-increasing trend of authority intimidation from both the defendants and the public, and that there’s, unfortunately, little to be made in such instances. MacAskill concluded by reminding the panel of juries that such dramatic displays prove nothing of one’s innocence and that he sides with the jury’s decision.
Teariki Kura’s sentencing was remanded on the 9th of May. The judge also decided to ban the presence of the defendant due to bad behavior, and that incarceration is “almost inevitable”. A ban which will be lifted by the judge upon hearing Kura’s public apologies.
Kura’s defense claimed the whole deal was a set-up, and that there’s no evidence of financial transactions, “tick lists,” or any other kind of records with potential clients. Kura firstly denied the drug order from Mexico in his video interview with the Customs.
Clear traces of methamphetamines were found on Kura’s scales among his private possessions. The defense admitted to personal class A drug consumption but completely disavowed the deep web importation. The defense declared that the drug wouldn’t ever have been under Kura’s real name and that it was a set-up.
The prosecution, however, claimed that it’s improbable that someone invested 28 grams of meth with a street value of $36,000 just to incriminate Kura when it would’ve been sufficient to just buy a lower quantity for personal use. The prosecution proved that Kura had indeed visited the parcel address recently and that it would have reached the streets if not for the flagrant interception.
The main evidence of this trial was an unrelated incriminatory probe found in Kura’s home after a search warrant: methamphetamine-contaminated scales, not the gun. The final sentence of four and five months also includes the gun charge which was admitted by the defense prior but the information was subsequently withheld from the jury throughout the trial due to it being an a priori agreement.