Assault accused found not guilty

A 31-year-old Blenheim man was found not guilty on a charge of assaulting his former partner at a judge-alone hearing in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.

Steven Ben Bullen, a meat worker, appeared on the male assaults female charge after the woman alleged he assaulted her on October 20 last year.

Bullen and his former partner both gave evidence yesterday.

Judge Tony Zohrab said he "strongly" suspected the assault had taken place, but because it was only Bullen's word against the complainant's, it could not be proven.

He found him not guilty on the charge, but sentenced him to 45 hours' community work on a separate charge of breaching a protection order, which he had previously admitted.

Kelly Paul Mills, 38, vacated a plea of not guilty to a charge of breaching a protection order following the prosecution evidence in court yesterday.

The complainant and the constable in charge of the case gave evidence about the incident on October 1 last year.

After their evidence, Mills' lawyer, Rennie Gould, told the judge Mills wished to change his plea to guilty.

She said he suffered memory problems and could not be 100 per cent sure of what had happened on the night, but he may have threatened the woman with knives, as she had said.

The judge convicted him and ordered him to come up for sentence if called within 12 months. He was also ordered to pay $500 in witness expenses.

Leona Erica Smith, 48, was convicted of refusing to give a blood specimen after she pleaded guilty to the charge.

The plea came just before a scheduled defended hearing on the charge, which she initially denied.

The judge said Smith had a history of drink-driving offences, and was not entitled to any credit for her guilty plea, as it had not been forth-coming.

He sentenced her to 350 hours' community work, six months' supervision, and disqualified her from driving for 14 months.

The Marlborough Express