Man sentenced for assaulting elderly amputee after argument over ale
A judge has chastised a man who assaulted a partly deaf 80-year-old amputee after an argument about beer, labelling his actions "despicable" and "appalling".
Anaru Rakai Tuau got a firm telling-off from Judge Jim Large in the Palmerston North District Court on Tuesday while being sentenced for assault.
The 33-year-old and his victim, who uses a mobility scooter to get around, were both at the Albert Sports Bar in Palmerston North on February 2.
They got into an argument after Tuau allegedly drank some of his victim's beer.
The argument spilled into the bar's car park, where the victim was confronted by Tuau and an associate.
He tried to drive his scooter around the pair, but Tuau grabbed it by the mirror, which broke off in his hand.
Tuau and his associate threw rocks while the man fled down Church St towards mixed martial arts gym The Fight Shop.
Tuau caught up with him, pushing him off his scooter and throwing away his hat before fleeing.
Tuau washed his hands on an outside tap at a nearby house while people went to the victim's aid. He told police his victim had been ramming him with the scooter.
Fight Shop owner/operator Stewart Chambers previously told Stuff that he and three boxers from his gym rushed out to find the victim, dazed and bloody, tipped out of his mobility scooter.
Although the boxers did not see the attack, they were upset someone so defenceless had been targeted.
"It's a pretty stink thing to do. What kind of person would do that kind of thing to anyone in a mobility scooter?"
The judge said the big issue was the victim's vulnerability.
"You have two legs. I have no idea how many legs he has, but he wasn't able to run away or walk away.
"He is also mostly deaf and suffers from forgetfulness.
"That's really despicable behaviour, given this man is 80 years of age and in a mobility scooter, and there was two of you, both able-bodied. That's appalling."
Defence lawyer Marina Anderson said Tuau was on an invalid's benefit and suffered from health issues of his own.
A scooter repair company had fixed the victim's scooter for free, but had asked for $1325 reparation from Tuau to cover the cost.
The judge said he was not able to order Tuau to pay it as the company was not a victim, but said he "morally" should pay it.
Tuau was sentenced to two months' community detention.