Jury quick to clear man of assault

Last updated 07:12 12/12/2012

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A jury took just three minutes to find a Blenheim man not guilty of assaulting a woman after a trial in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.

A charge of threatening to shoot the woman was also dismissed by Judge Denys Barry during the one-day trial.

Neil James Fowler, 55, was charged with threatening to cause the woman grievous bodily harm and assaulting her after an incident at his house in March.

Crown prosecutor Sophie O'Donoghue said the woman claimed Fowler locked her in his house and threatened her because she had got behind in payments for a car he bought for her.

Fowler told police the woman had attacked him and that she was obsessed with him and wanted to be his girlfriend, Ms O'Donoghue said.

The woman claimed Fowler had told her he would shoot her, her father and brothers, and that he had hit her in the back of the head as she tried to escape the house, Ms O'Donoghue said.

The woman had hit him back in self-defence, then threw a pot plant at the house and smashed a window before running away, she said.

However, the jury of eight women and four men returned their not guilty verdict about three minutes after retiring at the end of the four-hour trial.

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- The Marlborough Express

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