15 Mar 2018

Appeal judge convicts man over 'nasty' Queenstown assault

4:53 pm on 15 March 2018

A man who assaulted his wife, daughter, and former best friend has had his discharge without conviction overturned and will be re-sentenced.

Central Queenstown.

The assault took place in central Queenstown Photo: 123rf.com

The 58-year-old Central Otago man "saw red" when he learned of his wife's affair with his best friend after seeing text messages between the two declaring their love for each other.

He left the Queenstown bar - where all three had been associating, along with the couple's two daughters - on 14 September last year, in response to the discovery.

Soon afterwards he ran into the group and pushed his friend against a pole, with a scuffle ensuing between the pair.

The pair were separated by one of the daughters and the 58-year-old responded by grabbing her by the throat and pushing her to the ground, bruising her neck.

When a larger group of people intervened, including his wife, the man kicked his wife in the ribs, causing her to fall backwards on to the ground.

When sentencing the man in December, Judge John Brandts-Giesen described the incident as a "nasty assault", but said the man's actions were understandable in the circumstances and granted him a discharge without conviction.

"There would be many people who would have done exactly what you did, even though it may be against the law to do so," the judge said.

"In the circumstances, I consider that the consequences of conviction are out of all proportion to what happened on this occasion."

He also said, with the man's wife present in the court: "This is a situation that does your wife no credit and it does the first complainant no credit".

In granting the man a discharge without conviction for the three assaults, he said the man's ability to travel would be affected if convicted and "will put up certain barriers that should not have to annoy [the respondent] for the rest of [his] life".

However, High Court Justice David Gendall ruled Judge Brandts-Giesen had not assessed the gravity of the offending correctly.

"The judge erred in law by allowing the discharge without conviction, first, because his assessment of the gravity of the offending here was clearly wrong and, secondly, because there was insufficient material before him by which to find that the consequences of a conviction were out of all proportion to the gravity of that offending," Justice Gendall said in his decision, released this afternoon.

He convicted the man on all three counts and ordered that he be re-sentenced in May.

He allowed the man to keep his name suppression to protect the identity of his victims.