A 34-year-old man who violently attacked two couples after the Gibbston summer concert after smoking a synthetic drug has been sentenced to 12 months' home detention.
Simon John Windle, 34, lineman, of Gore, kept his head bowed during his sentencing in the Queenstown District Court yesterday before Judge Michael Turner for injuring with intent to injure, two charges of assault with the intent to injure and assault on February 15.
The judge converted a sentence of two years' jail to home detention and ordered Windle to pay $14,500 in emotional harm payments.
The first couple, aged 69 and 70, were travelling home towing a trailer when they stopped to secure the load.
Windle was staggering down the middle of the Gibbston Valley highway, near Queenstown, and asked the man, 70, about his religion while muttering about Allah.
He started punching the man in the face and head, shoving him into the side of the car with enough force to dent the metal panel.
The man's wife was punched in the face and knocked over the trailer after she got out of the car and told Windle to stop.
He then assaulted another couple, in their 50s, walking to their car. Windle threw a punch at the man, who ducked, then he punched the man's partner in the face. She suffered "serious and lasting injuries" and required a titanium plate inserted in her face.
Windle told police he had no memory of the assaults after the concert and the last thing he remembered was smoking cannabis then waking up in the back of a police van.
However, the judge said a psychiatrist said Windle's behaviour was more aligned with someone affected by smoking a synthetic drug rather than natural cannabis or drinking alcohol.
That behaviour included sudden outbursts while at the police station and the religious rambling.
The judge said he could not understand the "extremely violent nature" of the offending against elderly and vulnerable people, with all four victims being attacked in the head area.
The victims suffered bruising and abrasions and were emotionally scarred from the incident.
One, who suffered chronic arthritis, felt a sense of lost pride after being unable to defend his wife of 50 years and another thought her husband was going to be killed before her eyes.
Another had upsetting flashbacks of Windle's face.
The victims did not want to take part in restorative justice meetings with Windle.
- The Southland Times