Man sentenced for assault on pregnant ex-partner

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 11/06/2014

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A man who assaulted a pregnant woman has been sentenced to home detention.

Judge Allan Roberts said the assault in January by Harley Wayne Meston, 26, on his former partner, who was 12 weeks pregnant at the time, was serious offending.

"It was indeed a nasty assault."

The judge said Meston's lack of previous offending had saved him from going to prison. "Your saving grace is the fact you have no prior convictions for violence."

During the assault, a drunk Meston pushed the woman into a wall and pulled her hair, before trying to break her wrist, in an attempt to get keys off her.

The assault ended when he punched the woman in the stomach area. She was left with a broken sternum as well as bruising and swelling to her wrist and body.

Meston's lawyer, Rajan Rai, said his client had accepted responsibility for the offending. "He seeks to blame no one but himself."

The address where Meston would serve his home detention sentence was considered to be a "supportive" environment, Rai said. "He is fortunate he has people in his life who are prepared to help him."

Despite safety checks carried out on the proposed address by the probation service and Child Youth and Family social workers, due to the fact that children lived there, police prosecutor Sergeant Steve Hickey remained concerned about Meston's living arrangements.

"It could be a breeding ground for more issues," he said.

The judge gave Meston credit for his early guilty plea and sentenced him to six months' home detention and 125 hours of community work.

Special conditions of attending a domestic violence programme and alcohol and drug counselling were imposed and Meston will also be required to undertake domestic violence counselling.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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