Coach escapes conviction for attack on student

A coach who punched a teenage player's throat has been discharged without conviction.

The Marlborough man pleaded guilty to two assault charges. He was given suppression of his name, occupation and former occupation when he appeared in the Nelson District Court yesterday.

Judge Tony Zohrab said that the man had spent many years involved in his son's sporting activities.

On the return from a sporting trip to Nelson in February the man engaged in banter with the team about the smelliness of one boy's feet.

While the team was unpacking the van on arrival, a group of three students approached the coach and performed a prank.

One student struck the man in the groin, another in his knee several times and the remaining student put a dirty sock in his mouth.

The man became angry and chased the boys to the back of the van, where he struck one of the boys in the throat.

The coach continued to chase the students, saying "it was not funny".

He then walked towards his son and shoved him forward, causing him to stumble.

The man was told to calm down by his partner at the time before he got in the van and drove off.

He drove to his co-coach's premises, asked for advice, and immediately withdrew from any leadership roles.

He resigned from his job, separated from his wife and had a damaged relationship with his children as a result of his offending.

Defence counsel Garry Barkle said the offending was on the lower end of the scale.

The man accepted his reaction to the "overly exuberant unpleasant behaviour of the boys" was over the top.

The man had a momentary lapse of judgment but this was prompted by significant stressful circumstances.

Judge Zohrab said the man was a devoted member of his community and had suffered grave consequences as a result of the offending, including losing his job that he had worked for a number of years.

The judge concluded the man was genuinely remorseful and the consequences of having a conviction would be disproportionate to the offending.

The Nelson Mail