A judge has taken the unusual step of ordering the destruction of a Mongrel Mob member's gang patch.
Andre Jade Hansen, 22, admitted possessing an offensive weapon and breaching a liquor ban when he appeared before Judge James Weir in Rotorua District Court this week.
He was seen in Rotorua on July 5 drinking with five friends inside a car.
At the time, he was wearing a leather vest with a gang patch on it, police prosecutor Sergeant Stephen Coleman told the court.
Police searched Hansen and found inside his vest a 30cm sharpened metal file, known as shank, with insulation tape wrapped around one end to form a handle.
Hansen told police he had the weapon "just in case there was trouble".
So the guy is a thug, and a member of the Mongrel Mob to boot. Doubtless, the makeshift weapon would have seen the light of day at the earliest possible opportunity - until Judge Weir intervened:
Judge Weir noted police had applied for the destruction of the vest and metal file.
However, duty lawyer Kathy Jackson told the court police had told him he could go to the police station and pick up his gang patch.
"It wasn't on the vest. He tells me it was inside a pocket," she said.
But Judge Weir said the patch would be destroyed - along with the vest and weapon.
"I don't care... the patch will be destroyed as well. He is missing the point. It's not difficult, the patch was in his possession," he said.
Thank you very much Judge Weir. It's a victory for common-sense, and proves that Wanganui's Gang Insignia Act need not be the toothless tiger that its opponents predicted.