Man convicted of eye-gouging had blinded before
After convicting Jordan Patrick Isle of an eye-gouging attack, a jury was told it was the second time the violent 23-year-old had destroyed the eye of a victim.
Isle is now in custody and awaiting sentence in the Christchurch District Court on May 28 when he faces the prospect of a long jail term.
He faced the jury verdicts at his latest trial with a grim calm, while his partner was left weeping alone in the public seating.
The Crown prosecutor Arpana Raj handed Judge Jane Farish the Belfast man's criminal history and a summary of facts for an assault case last year, in which the victim also lost an eye.
That led Judge Farish to tell the jurors: "Mr Isle was convicted in February last year on a charge of assault, which was lowered from a more serious charge. In that incident he had kicked the victim in the head and repeatedly punched that person. As a result, that person has lost their right eye."
She said: "So he is not a stranger to this level of violence and unfortunately, a second person has now lost their eye."
Judge Farish said she did not disagree with the jury's verdicts, finding Isle guilty on charges of assault with intent to injure and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the end of the three-day trial.
She read Isle a first-strike warning under the system that imposes heavier penalties on people convicted of repeat serious violent offences.
She asked for a pre-sentence report for his sentencing and a victim impact report.
The jury dismissed Isle's claim that someone else was the eye-gouging attacker who "rolled" an Oxford man in an apparent drugs raid last year.
It took about three hours for the jury to find him guilty of inflicting the terrible injury - the loss of the right eye - that they witnessed when the victim gave evidence.
The defence, with counsel Tim Twomey, claimed it was not Isle who carried out the daytime attack on the 44-year-old victim as he lay in his bed.
The jury rejected Isle's own account that he was at his home in Rangiora at the time of the attack, and only went out briefly to walk to the supermarket.
The victim was adamant that it was Isle, both at the trial and immediately after the attack in August last year.
He told the court he recognised him as the figure standing in his bedroom as soon as he spoke.
The attacker punched and strangled him, and then poked his thumb into his eye.
It felt like he was trying to "scoop" out the eye, he told the trial.
There was ill-feeling between the two. It was described in court as a dispute over money and cannabis after Isle had lived in his housebus on the man's property for months.
He had left some time before, but the dispute continued with demands and threats by text.
Isle said that other people planned to "roll" the man with a raid to take his drugs.
The texts produced in court indicated he was keen to join that raid.
Isle said in evidence that the man had threatened his mother, partner, and children and he wanted to make him go through the painful drug withdrawals of a methamphetamine addict.
His texts, and his evidence, accused the victim of being a convicted rapist.
The victim acknowledged that conviction in the witness box - an offence that happened about 24 years ago.
Having arranged by text to take part in a serious drugs robbery, Isle told the court that he was then not picked up by the others involved, and he made no further effort to find out what was happening.
He effectively told the court he was so engrossed in playing a computer game about a zombie attack that he paid no attention when no-one arrived to pick him up to take him to the robbery.
The trial offered a glimpse into Isle's lifestyle.
He admitted he had been up for about two days, and had come home about 6am, very hungover and needing sleep.
He awoke late morning and played a zombie computer game, he said.
Isles said he went to the supermarket early afternoon to get a sports drink because he was dehydrated.
However when the police came up with a supermarket receipt that showed his partner had bought sports drink at the supermarket that morning, Isle was left lamely explaining to the jury that it was not the flavour he liked.
The Crown case was that the timings all fitted: the text messages arranging the pick-up in Rangiora, the attack in Oxford about 2pm on August 10, and Isle's appearance on the Rangiora supermarket's cameras 50 minutes later.
That was plenty of time for the events to happen, the Crown said.
Isle claimed that apart from the supermarket visit, he was at home with two other people, but neither of them were called to give evidence in his support.
Isle said he would not name the person who he believed carried out the attack because he was too scared of him and did not want to be dealt with in the same manner as the victim at Oxford.
He said the victim was also scared to name the other person he said he had seen at a car outside his house at the time of the attack.
That was not quite true. The victim said he would not name the man, not because he was scared of him but because he had no "beef" with him.