November 29, 2023

Mama Hooch victims call justice system ‘exhausting’ as Jaz brothers continued offending while names suppressed

"These guys did not deserve a single day of their identities being protected."

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

Victims of the Jaz brothers say the unreasonably long wait for justice made their plight far worse.

Delays in the justice system meant the case took five years to get to court, with the men on bail with name suppression. Their offending kept happening even after they were first spoken to by police – and there may well be more unknown victims.

Danny Jaz had a complaint laid against him in 2017, he was interviewed by police but a charge was never laid, so he kept offending.

It was the year after that his brother Roberto Jaz was arrested following his first complainant coming forward. 

Roberto got name suppression and he also kept offending.

A few months later Danny was arrested, alongside the third man who walked free from the drink spiking case.

After getting bail, Danny was allowed to continue managing Mama Hooch, and all of this was five years ago – that’s five years of the Jaz brothers living their lives, their identities kept secret.

Their victims are traumatised by it. Newshub changed the name of two friends and named them Anna and Sarah instead. 

“It’s left me with an overwhelming feeling of anger. These guys did not deserve a single day of their identities being protected. They managed to carry on with their lives with no one knowing who they are and what they have done. It was very difficult to live knowing that,” said Anna. 

They lived in fear of bumping into the Jaz brothers.

“It also felt important to me that people knew who they were because they were continuing to run the bar and restaurant where majority of offending would happen. Also because the offending continued to happen even after the accusations were made. Perhaps people knew who they were, it could have had a preventative impact,” said Sarah. 

Years of delays through the courts because of COVID-19 and ongoing legal arguments, Sarah told Newshub the “justice system was exhausting”.

“The lengthy process and time taken just to get into the courtroom felt a great lack of compassion towards all the victims,” Sarah said. 

The Jaz brothers were found to be sexual predators and compulsive liars and lied to police about this assault.

“She grabbed me and kissed me,” Roberto told police. 

“And she kissed me again.”

“She started to grope me and undid my pants,” Roberto added. 

“So how did she get the scratches on her neck, how did she do that?” the police detective asked.

Roberto lied to his dad too in a letter he wrote to him.

“One thing led to another, which resulted in some consensual sexual activity between us,” Roberto asked. 

He apologised and then asked his father for money.

“I may need some help financially and will repay you as soon as I can.”

Newshub understands the brothers’ father permanently left New Zealand after the allegations emerged. 

There may be more unknown victims of the Jaz brothers and police say they will ensure wrap-around care for anyone who comes forward.

“We would ensure that there is support available. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do, to take that step to come through the door to talk to us,” said Detective Helen Mahon-Stroud. 

It took the Mama Hooch victims too long to get justice, but at least in the end, they did. Some will return to confront the Jaz brothers one last time when sentencing takes place in August. 

Over two days victims will be invited to tell the two men face-to-face exactly how their sinister offending impacted their young lives. 

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