You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Ex Junior All Black gets reduced sentence

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/04/2017

A former Junior All Black has had a jail sentence for tax evasion reduced after the court heard he suffered from a series of brain injuries, including while playing rugby.

John Neville Williams, who is in his late 50s, was in March last year sentenced to three years and 10 months' jail after pleading guilty to seven charges of tax evasion over $440,000 owed by his now defunct Taupo restaurant and bar.

But the High Court at Rotorua has now reduced his sentenced by seven months after hearing he had a history of traumatic brain injuries which had not been brought to the sentencing judge's attention.

Williams' lawyer gave the court a psychologist's report saying the former Waikato lock had a serious history of head injuries likely to have caused significant cognitive deficits, which may have partly led to his offending.

While his most significant head injury was in 2009, when he fell from a bull at a rodeo at age 52, the court heard his "very successful and promising" rugby career was marred by multiple concussions, one of which fractured his skull.

He had also injured himself during several car crashes, a skiing accident and while falling off a tractor at age 12.

Justice Simon Moore accepted the lengthy report's findings and the traumatic brain injuries meant Williams had a limited understanding at the time of the consequences of his offending.

"The progressive nature of Mr William's impairment provides some understanding into how a formerly successful business failed and Mr Williams embarked on his course of deception despite previously being convicted of revenue offences," he said.

"This conduct reflects both a lack of insight and a lack of appreciation of the consequences of his actions."

Justice Moore quashed the District Court sentence and replaced it with one of three years' and three months' jail.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon