Conviction escape revives dreams

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Promising Rotorua grappler Reon Mahima's dreams of professional wrestling have been revived.

The former three-times national champion's ambition to travel the world as a professional World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler was threatened when he was charged with assaulting three men at a McDonald's in March.

But the sentencing judge discharged him without conviction, letting him travel internationally.

The 21-year-old barman pleaded guilty in Rotorua District Court to punching three men at the restaurant's drive-through on March 9.

He was waiting for a hamburger with his girlfriend about 2.20am when one of the men allegedly threw food over the car.

 Mahima asked him to clean it up and when he refused, punched his head. The victim fell back, hit his head and was knocked out for 10 minutes. Mahima punched the others in the head.

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At sentencing yesterday in Rotorua, Judge Chris McGuire was concerned at the assaults' severity and told Mahima to pay $1000 reparation to the men - but discharged him without conviction.

Lawyer Brian Foote said a conviction would have stopped Mahima getting a visa to travel, ending his dream of fighting in the professional World Wrestling Entertainment circuit.

Mahima recently won a place at the New York-based Wild Samoan Pro-Wrestling Training Centre - the only one officially endorsed by World Wrestling Entertainment Inc, founders of televised wrestling shows like RAW and Smackdown.

He goes to New York in August.

The Dominion Post