November 30, 2023

Head officer in Mama Hooch investigation says it’s ‘relief’ drink-spiking rapists have been brought to justice

Related video: Newshub's Juliet Speedy's report on the Mama Hooch case.

Warning: This article discusses rape and contains details that may disturb.

The officer in charge of the horrific Mama Hooch case says it’s a “relief” the serial rapists have been brought to justice five years after their arrest.

The duo’s name suppression was lifted on Thursday, unmasking the predators Danny Jaz and Roberto Jaz who were running a drink spiking ring for years in Christchurch.

Danny managed Mama Hooch, which opened in 2015. His brother Roberto worked as a chef at nearby Venuti and sometimes helped out at the bar.  

The two brothers used the popular bar as a hunting ground to drug, rape and sexually assault numerous patrons and their own staff.  

The pair and two other men, whose names are suppressed, were arrested in 2018 as part of Operation Sinatra which was launched after two brave women, both 18 at the time, went to the police after they were drugged and assaulted the night before. Media coverage around this saw many women previously ashamed and embarrassed come forward to the police.

Last month, the two Jaz brothers were found guilty on a total of 69 charges, however, their names remained suppressed until Thursday.

The officer in charge of the Mama Hooch investigation, Detective Inspector Scott Anderson, said their conviction was a relief.

“It’s a relief that it’s been done and we’ve got the result but really, what it is, is we were working for all the complainants that came forward. It is about them and about holding these people to  account for what actually happened to them,” Insp Anderson told AM.

Insp Anderson said all the complainants are coping differently and have been connected with a support network to assist them on their journey.

“As we have seen here, this journey took five years from when we arrested these guys back in 2018 to being resolved in court in 2023,” he said.

“…When you actually have to come to trial and relive the whole thing again, that’s the most traumatic time for them.”

Insp Anderson said it is hard to believe there are predators like Danny and Roberto out there.

“It’s really hard to comprehend that people think like this and act like this. Thinking they are entitled to behave like this and the word has been used ‘treat females like commodities’,” Insp Anderson said.

“It’s really hard to believe that there are people out there doing that but the reality is that there is.”

He said it would be naive to say drink spiking isn’t happening nationwide but believes it isn’t common.

Insp Anderson said unfortunately we have to be careful about how we go about our day-to-day living. He said the key message is to make sure you are safe and to look after your mates. 

“Majority of the time, everyone can go out and have a good time but we’ve just got to be aware that there are predators out there that will take advantage of vulnerable people.”

Where to find help and support: 

If you have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment or assault and would like to speak to someone, you could call national helpline Safe to Talk text 4334, phone 0800 044 334 webchat or email [email protected].

Or call the HELP support service.

Would you like to receive notifications on latest updates? No Yes