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Woman in custody for contempt of court

Last updated 08:37 03/07/2014

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A woman was put into custody for contempt of court after being found guilty on a charge of common assault in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.

Amanda Lorraine Barr, 25, was sentenced to 75 hours' community work.

She had been warned about her behaviour during the judge-alone hearing by Judge Tony Zohrab.

She continued to interrupt proceedings while evidence was heard about the incident on December 4 last year.

The court heard that Barr went to the assault victim's house that afternoon to retrieve a mat and some personal belongings.

The victim, Sylvia Walsh, said she had held on to the red mat until Barr paid her some money she owed her for board, but she did not have the other items.

Barr came down the street yelling and swearing, before pushing past her sons to get inside the house, going straight into the lounge to get the mat, Walsh said.

The pair had an altercation, and Barr punched Walsh in the nose, who then had to restrain her with her forearm, she said.

Giving evidence in court, Barr argued Walsh had run into her fist, which she had out in self defence.

"If I had assaulted her, her face would look a lot worse than that," she said.

Barr said Walsh had made the assault up to make Barr look bad because Walsh wanted to get custody of her baby.

In summing up, Zohrab said he had no reason to disbelieve either Walsh or her son, who also gave evidence in court.

If the incident had been an attempt to get Barr into trouble, the pair could have embellished their evidence to make it sound much worse, he said.

He had no trouble believing their allegations if Barr's behaviour in court yesterday was anything to go by, he said.

"It's clear to me having observed the defendant here in court today that she has difficulty controlling her emotions and difficulty controlling herself."

"Ms Barr was out of control on this day, upset and angry she's pushed past this boy and gone in . . . I'm quite satisfied that she has punched Miss Walsh," the judge said.

Before the judge had a chance to impose a sentence on Barr, she was taken into custody for contempt of court when she continued to say she wanted a review of his decision.

While she was in custody screaming and yelling could be heard from the court cells.

When she returned to the court room two more charges were laid against Barr, of obstructing a police officer, and assault with intent to injure.

She made no pleas to the charges, and was remanded on bail to appear on them on July 14.

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- The Marlborough Express

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