Offender avoids jail
A former Blenheim man savagely beat a teenager he thought had stolen his belongings then went to the police station to tell them what he had done, police say.
In the Blenheim District Court on Monday, 35-year-old Kaikoura technician Brad Francis Hutchinson was sentenced to eight months' home detention after admitting a charge of wounding with reckless disregard for safety after the attack which left his 19-year-old victim with breathing difficulties and possibly in need of a metal plate in his face. He was also ordered to pay $800 in reparation to the victim.
Judge Tony Zohrab said Hutchinson went to the man's house about 4pm on September 23, accusing him of stealing his diving gear. When the man denied it the enraged Hutchinson punched him six times in the head and kicked him in the back of the legs, he said.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Graham Single said Hutchinson had reported the theft to police but became angry with the lack of an arrest. After the attack he went straight to Blenheim police station and made a full statement about what he had done, he said.
Judge Zohrab said the attack broke the teenager's cheekbone and left him with black eyes and extensive bruising to his face and legs. The victim had to drink through a straw for some weeks afterwards, he said.
The attack cost him $1500 in time off work and had left him scared to answer the door and paranoid about being left home alone, he said.
Defence lawyer Philip Watson said Hutchinson had a brain injury which made it difficult for him to control his anger and he had been under stress after the death of his grandfather. He had moved to Kaikoura since, he said.
Judge Zohrab said Hutchinson had stopped using cannabis and begun using prescription medication to control his moods and for depression. That, along with his head injury, saved him from being sent to prison. But any more offending would see him imprisoned as Hutchinson had been offered help by the courts for his anger issues many times in the past and this was a violent assault following other assault convictions, he said.