Musician guilty of assaulting fan
An award-winning hip-hop artist has been slammed by a judge for punching a concert goer in the face, prematurely ending a concert.
A gig on March 6 featuring the band Home Brew at Lincoln University was shut down early after 31-year-old Harry "Haz Beats" Huavi jumped from the stage and punched a teenager in the face.
The attack took place during an orientation-week toga party at the university on the outskirts of Christchurch.
Today at Auckland District Court, Huavi pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault and was ordered to pay the victim $250 on top of a $350 fine.
"It's really quite unusual for a musician to come off stage and whack someone who's come to see them," said Judge Philippa Cunningham.
"Looking at your history, he's not the first person you've whacked."
Huavi's lawyer Paul Wicks said his client punched the man because he thought he felt a hand in his pocket trying to steal his wallet.
He accepted it was a case of mistaken identity, he said.
Police were called just after midnight to reports of an assault on a 17-year-old man and subsequently shut the concert down half an hour before it was due to end.
The victim Sam McLeod was taken to hospital by a fellow student with a cut over his eye and required three stitches to close the wound.
The first-year university student from Whakatane said he was in the front row watching the group when one of the members jumped off the stage and handed a drink to someone a couple of rows back.
Huavi then looked at McLeod, punched him in the face and said: ''Keep your f***ing hands out of my pockets.''
He returned to the stage and another member of the group told the crowd: ''Shout out to the guy who just got punched in the face", McLeod said.
The victim called the band "a bunch of losers" and said it was not him who had tried to pickpocket the offender.
Judge Cunningham was not impressed with the amount of emotional-harm reparation offered by Huavi but Wicks said that was all the Melbourne-based musician could afford until he played another gig later this month.
She advised the 31-year-old to seek treatment for his behaviour.
"I suggest when you go back [to Australia] and look at what community courses are available there, in terms of anger management, so you learn to deal with situations like this without hitting some innocent person," Judge Cunningham said.
In 2012, Home Brew Crew won best urban/hip hop album at the New Zealand Music Awards for their self-titled release, which shot to number one on the country's charts.
During that year Huavi made the news after being on the other end of an assault.
He posted photos on Twitter showing his bruised and bloodied face and explained he had been blindsided by someone while queuing for drinks at an Auckland bar.