Sentence for violent skate park stoush

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 17:52 07/09/2012
Craig Platt
GRHAME COX/Fairfax NZ
FINED: Craig Platt.

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The man at the centre of a violent stoush at an Auckland skate park has been sentenced to nine months on a good behaviour bond.

Craig Anthony Platt, 48, who featured in a video of the March incident that went viral, appeared in the Auckland District Court today for sentence, after pleading guilty to two assault charges in May.

Judge Edwin Paul said little would be served by imposing further deterrents on Platt.

"A conviction is significant in itself."

The sentence means if Platt does not reoffend in nine months then nothing further would happen. If he did he could be resentenced on both assault charges.

Lawyer John Armstrong said Platt was seeking a discharge without conviction. He said an assault conviction would affect Platt's ability to engage in his children's education and sporting activities.

Platt's career as a developing artist would also be compromised.

Armstrong said up until the incident Platt had not been before the courts and had a reputation as someone who contributed to the community.

"He had effectively one bad day where he lost control on two occasions. They were both unfortunate events for which he is deeply sorry."

The video taken during the Skinny & Serenity National Grom Skate Comp at Victoria Park showed Platt shoulder-charging a teenage skateboarder to the ground and shoving another man, Leighton Dyer.

The viral video resulted in an attack on the gallery which sells Platt's artwork. It had to shut its doors and its website.

There was also a telephone threat on the life of his daughter who was running the gallery.

"It got seriously out of control," Armstrong said.

Platt had not been able to sell his artwork costing him about $9000.

Armstrong said the offending was at the lower end of the scale - reasonably violent pushing and shoving.

He said the young victim was making a nuisance of himself and was asked to leave on a couple of occasions.

Judge Paul said that troubled him as the public was entitled to be at the skatepark. The young man was not lawfully excluded from any area of the skatepark.

Armstrong said Platt had no idea what the arrangements were. He was "roped in" to judge part of the competition.

Platt had also attended a 20 week anger management course at his own cost.

Armstrong said if you googled "Craig Platt" the first thing that comes up is a video calling him a "skate park bully".

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"(It) serves as a continuing reminder of his offending."

Judge Paul said although Platt had been publicly vilified there was a "significant age and size disparity" between Platt and the 15-year-old.

He rejected that Platt had been provoked and as a judge of the skate competition was expected to act "responsibly and with restraint".

"Mr Platt did neither of those."

Judge Paul said the consequences of a conviction did not outweigh Platt's abilities to engage in his children's school activities or his career as an artist. They did not reduce the seriousness of the offending.

"Ultimately I have decided I am not prepared to exercise my discretion in Mr Platt's favour."

Platt originally faced one charge over the assault of the teenage boy at the skate park on March 25, but police laid a second charge against Platt for assaulting Dyer at the same event.

The event received widespread attention when footage of the incident spread online, prompting police to investigate and Auckland mayor Len Brown to wade in.

The under-16 contest was sponsored by Serenity, the rehab centre run by convicted drug trafficker William Murdoch.

- Auckland Now

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