Man jailed for pushing woman down stairs
A Christchurch man has been jailed for 13 months for an attack on a woman that could have caused serious injury.
"One has to take into account the potential seriousness arising from his actions," Christchurch District Court Judge John Strettell said as he jailed Hamish Luke Linton, 26, for 13 months.
The attack took place when Linton and the woman argued at a backpacker hostel during a trip to Wellington to attend a concert.
They had been drinking, and when the argument developed Linton took the woman's handbag, cellphone and a bottle of wine.
He grabbed her around the neck and applied pressure to her throat, causing her to gag.
When she pushed him away and kicked at him to stop the choking, she ran down the stairs.
The court was told Linton then "forcibly propelled" her down the stairs.
When she landed in a heap, Linton made a derogatory comment, stepped over her and left.
The woman suffered bruises to her body and had clear thumbprints around her neck.
The judge said any assault involving the throat were seen as serious, and pushing the woman down the stairs could have had a devastating effect.
"Serious injuries and consequences were potentially the result on this occasion," he said.
Linton pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman with intent to injure her, stealing her cellphone, and shoplifting packs of venison, bacon and eggs from supermarkets.
Defence counsel Craig Fletcher said Linton had drunk more than the usual amount of alcohol on the weekend of the assault.
He said that on Linton's release from prison he would have employment available as a labourer, but wanted to return to work on fishing boats.
The judge noted that Linton had a history of offending, including assaults and shoplifting. He had already gone through a rehabilitation programme.
The judge imposed jail terms totalling 13 months and ordered Linton to pay reparation of $180 for the woman's cellphone, which was stolen and then thrown away.