An old man was subjected to an unprovoked attack in Auckland's Sylvia Park mall with the offender announcing triumphantly to the crowd "one for the Maoris" as he swaggered away "like he had just won the World Heavyweight Championship".
William Morgan Lewis, 43, was convicted yesterday in the Auckland District Court of assaulting 67-year-old Warren Goston on January 11 in the food court of the Mt Wellington mall.
Goston told the court he put his bag down on a table in the food court when he heard someone saying "f*** c***" and "f****** whitey" to him.
As he looked up, the "powerfully built" Maori man with his hair in a bun "like the Maori chieftains of old" came advancing towards him.
Goston said he turned to other customers nearby and asked if they would witness what was going on.
He said he felt himself grabbed from behind and slammed onto the ground.
"I was in the foetal position on the ground. He clenched his fist and raised it up in the air.
"Then, in a quiet and strangely calm sounding manner, he said 'one for the Maoris, folks'. Then he swaggered off like he had just won the World Heavyweight Championship.''
Goston said he sustained bruising to the left of his body and a damaged knee.
He said he had previously had two heart attacks, a major stroke that left him half-blind in one eye and had endured open-heart surgery.
"Why would you pick on an old man like me who's less powerful than him?"
Lewis' lawyer suggested Goston gave his client "a disparaging look".
Goston said that was "a complete lie".
Judge Thomas Everett said he found Goston's evidence "lucid" and "credible".
He said Lewis appeared to have mental problems.
The judge said if the attack had been carried out by someone who was "the full pound" he would have taken it "extremely seriously" as it appeared to be a race-hate crime.
He convicted Lewis and ordered him to appear for sentence if called upon within the next six months.
- © Fairfax NZ News