Charges against a Taupo district councillor accused of hitting his wife have been thrown out - but the judge advised the couple to get counselling "as soon as possible".
In Taupo District Court yesterday, Rex Mincher, 50, a businessman and would-be mayoral candidate for the central North Island town, defended charges he hit his wife in the mouth, splitting her lip.
The court heard the alleged assault followed a week of bickering, mutual abuse and disagreements, but Judge James Weir dismissed the charges because of a lack of evidence.
Mr Mincher was arrested on September 1 on a charge of male assaults female. That was downgraded yesterday to the lowest level of common assault.
Mr Mincher's wife, Shona, told Judge Weir the couple had been married for nearly 10 years and had a four-year-old child.
She admitted their relationship had "ups and downs" but said they generally got through them. They had been arguing throughout the week before the alleged attack.
She felt intimidated and afraid when Mr Mincher approached, and spat in his face. He then hit her, she said.
After leaving the house, she eventually drove to the police station and reported the incident.
Mr Mincher was asleep in the family home, with their daughter, when police arrived and arrested him five hours later.
Mr Mincher told the court he had not struck his wife intentionally, and had raised his hands in self-defence in an instinctive reaction to being spat at.
He and his wife were standing face to face and his finger had clipped his wife's nose, he said.
Dominion Post reporter Mike Watson, who was subpoenaed to appear after reporting on the case, said Mrs Mincher told him the alleged assault happened after a "week-long argument" and that her husband had hit her on the mouth with a "backhander".
Judge Weir dismissed the case, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Mincher had not reacted in self-defence.
But he said the couple's relationship was "unhealthy" and advised them to get counselling as soon as possible.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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