It can now be revealed the two men who ran a depraved drink spiking ring at Mama Hooch in Christchurch worked at the bar.
The now-convicted rapists are brothers Danny Jaz, 40, and Roberto Jaz, 37.
They were both heavily involved in the management of Mama Hooch and repeatedly abused that position to prey on young women, often slipping drugs into drinks they were serving.
Warning: This article discusses sexual assault and may be distressing to some readers.
The two men lost their name suppression in the High Court today.
It means the full details of their offending can now be reported, revealing their systematic targeting of women included not only patrons, but also waitresses working at the bar.
The pair were convicted on 68 of the 113 charges they faced at a six-week trial earlier this year.
They had chosen to be tried by a judge rather than a jury in the Christchurch District Court.
It was proved they had drugged 17 women between 2015 and 2018, and sexually assaulted the same number.
While they did beat some allegations, Judge Paul Mabey KC reached guilty verdicts on some of the most serious charges including disabling, stupefying, indecent assault, sexual violation and rape.
A third man, a friend of the brothers, was found not guilty on all major charges he faced.
Danny Jaz was the bar manager at Mama Hooch between 2015 and 2018, tasked with the care of patrons and staff. It was proved he had drugged several women during that time, often bringing them to the toilets at the bar ahead of sexual assaults.
He either admitted or was found guilty of 16 indecent assaults and seven sexual violations, subjecting his victims to groping, slapping, biting, kissing, and serious sexual assaults.
Roberto Jaz, meanwhile, would often volunteer behind the bar and help his brother to pour drinks after finishing work for the night. He was a chef at an Italian restuarant, named Venuti, a few doors down. At times, he lured women from the bar to the restaurant afterhours, ahead of sexual assaults.
It was proved he had drugged and sexually assaulted multiple women, including a rape, with victims claiming they blacked out during the assaults.
The stories heard at trial were eerily similar, with women claiming they felt like they were “underwater” and unable to control their bodies, after consuming drinks or powder given to them.
The sins of Danny and Roberto Jaz
When their crimes began to unravel, and police closed in, Danny and Roberto tried to push the blame back on the women they had targeted.
They had both enjoyed the popularity afforded to them through their roles at Mama Hooch. The bar was known as a place where you could get free drinks, and was one of the busiest night spots in Christchurch between 2015 and 2018.
Their defence was that the women had inflicted the blackouts on themselves by taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol, and that the sex either didn’t happen or was consensual.
The offending was so shameless that, in the midst of his crime spree in 2017, Danny even made advances on a female police officer when she visited the bar for a compliance check.
The officer gave evidence that Danny began hitting on her, touched her arm and asked her to call him. She was disgusted and refused to shake his hand afterwards.
Later, when two women came forward in July 2018 alleging they had been drugged and indecently assaulted at Venuti, Roberto tried to pin the blame on a mystery assailant.
In a police interview, he claimed to have memory blanks, and suggested he was a victim of drink spiking.
“Could I have had something possibly put in my drink, I don’t know,” he told a detective.
“I may have had something put in my drink that has made me sort of losing memory.”
In August of that year, police put out a public media request asking if anyone had a story of drink spiking from Mama Hooch.
The next morning, at 5.35am, Roberto was flagged by Interpol at Christchurch Airport while trying to fly to Sydney. He claimed was he was heading away on a holiday but was promptly arrested.
By September, police had raided Roberto’s home, finding drugs in an old CD case, and charging him with multiple offences.
That didn’t stop Danny from speaking to the local newspaper in October.
By that point 10 women had come forward, but Danny issued a brazen denial.
“If we caught [those responsible], God help them,” he reportedly told The Press.
Despite knowing his brother had been arrested, he suggested he would “break the hands” of whoever had done the drugging.
‘New waitress boys, who wants it?’
Nowhere was their perverted attitude towards women more obvious than their text messages.
Police seized both men’s phones during the investigation and uncovered a trove of communications in a Whatsapp group chat, which give an insight into their mindset.
On 10 occasions, the messages showed the brothers had specifically targeted staff - women who either worked for them, or wanted to work for them.
Typically Roberto or Danny would post images of the target in the group chat with comments like “new waitress boys, who wants it” and “another waitress for you to pump”.
At one point a friend asked them to “take a beter pic of the waitress ass [sic]” and Roberto obliged, sending a photo which appeared to have been covertly taken.
Later, a photo of a prospective waitress was posted to the chat, with one man remarking “she wants work”.
Danny asked if she was available for Friday and Saturday. Roberto remarked: “B*** jobs for the boys on Sunday”. He joked he could call another of their friends, if he wanted to have sex with her afterwards.
In one exchange, Roberto even joked he had “roofied” a woman’s drink, to which a friend responded: “Did you buy her a Roofiecolada?”.
At another, he asked a friend if there were any women at a party. When told they were “inactive”, he replied with one word, simply saying: “rape”.
It can now be revealed the messages included screenshots from the CCTV at Mama Hooch, showing the brothers had monitored patrons through the security cameras.
Roberto’s phone also included a collection of sex videos in a hidden folder, some including unknown women which police have never been able to identify.
Rapist fired by his boss
Neither man has ever issued an apology to the women. They didn’t even turn and look at the victims watching in the court gallery in April, when they were found guilty of their crimes.
However, Roberto Jaz did apologise to his boss in 2018 after he was caught having sex at Venuti.
When police raided one of the brother’s homes, they discovered a signed letter in a bedroom addressed to his employer.
In the letter, Roberto confessed to “taking a female to Venuti to use the bathroom”. He claimed he had offered her a drink and “one thing led to another”.
“I know that I should not have utilised the venue for this kind of activity however this particular female had been previously flirting with me that particular evening,” he continued.
“I know that this has put stress on you.”
The letter revealed his boss had fired him over the interaction.
“I am truely [sic] sorry for the repercussions this has caused as a result I am aware that my position at your establishment is terminated,” Roberto wrote.
“I know I will never receive a position this good anywhere.”
Both brothers are now in jail awaiting sentencing.
The hammer falls in August, with the maximum penalty for rape 20 years behind bars.
Full charge list: All guilty and not guilty verdicts
The Jaz brothers were convicted of 68 of the 113 charges they faced, detailed in full below. Many of their crimes were jointly charged, meaning they had worked together. There were allegations from 32 women but not all of these were proven at trial.
Judge Paul Mabey KC convicted the men on most of the drugging related to sexual offending, but indicated he did not accept a second Crown theory that drugs had also been dispersed into drinks more widely to increase the general party atmosphere of the bar. He is yet to issue a full written judgement explaining his decisions.