Assaults may end bid to stay in NZ

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014

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A young Ukrainian may be sent back to his strife-torn homeland after a judge felt the chance of his losing his bid for New Zealand residency did not outweigh the seriousness of his offending.

Denys Chechelev, 26, was discharged without conviction two years ago after he was found guilty of assaulting a woman. In December he was found guilty of assaulting police, resisting police and offensive behaviour.

When he appeared in Napier District Court yesterday, his lawyer argued that convictions would affect his employment and his application for residency. The consequences would outweigh the seriousness of his offending, Scott Jefferson said.

Chechelev had been living in New Zealand for eight years and had been in trouble only twice, both when he was drunk.

"Convictions will ultimately, by way of domino effect, see him back in the Ukraine, when he has established his life here," Jefferson said.

Police prosecutor Mal Lochrie opposed the application. He said the grounds for Chechelev's previous discharge without conviction were exactly the same as they were this time, "and that hasn't stopped him reoffending".

There was no affidavit suggesting that Chechelev would be deported if a conviction was entered, Mr Lochrie said.

Judge Jonathan Down said Chechelev's offending was "not the most serious", but was "serious enough to be met with a penalty of community work".

Judge Down said that he understood a conviction might result in the loss of Chechelev's job as a duty manager in a bar and could affect his residency application.

"After receiving a warning on the previous occasion, you cannot expect this court to deal with you in the same way on this occasion. You have had your second chance and you have frittered it away."

He convicted Chechelev and sentenced him to 80 hours' community work.

Immigration New Zealand said anyone with a criminal conviction would not be given a visa without a character waiver from an immigration officer. "Everyone applying for New Zealand residence must be of good character."

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- The Dominion Post

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