Man in court for breaking officer's nose
When a Nelson man was woken from an alcohol induced stupor and lashed out with his fists he was not intending to break a police officer's nose, a court has heard.
Dominic Joseph Silker, 20, admitted one count of injuring with intent to injure after he drunkenly punched and broke the nose of a constable who was helping to get him home.
The Nelson District Court heard on Wednesday that Silker had been drinking in the city on May 26, but was driven home by a friend because he "was not himself".
He fell asleep in the car, and his friend was unable to rouse him after pulling up outside Silker's Ridgeway property at 3.20am.
The friend called the Nelson police to help him remove Silker and ensure he got home safe, the court heard.
The constable was able to remove Silker from the car, but due to his heavy intoxication the officer sat him down on the curb, so he could speak with the friend.
After a couple of minutes, the constable returned his attention to the drunken 20-year-old, but as he turned to help him he was punched in the face so hard that he fell over, Judge William Hastings told the court.
Silker, who had stood up on his own accord, then lost balance and toppled on top of the officer, who's nose was "bleeding profusely". The constable held onto Silker on the ground and waited for backup.
Judge Hastings said the injury sustained by the constable, while he was doing his duty, was significant. He was left with swelling, cuts and a broken nose, which later had to be straightened causing significant pain.
In a victim impact statement, the constable said he was worried about the effect on his children, coming home with obvious injuries after a night at work. He was unable to go on a diving trip with his son the week later.
Defence lawyer Mark Dollimore conceded Silker faced a serious charge, but said his client had never realised it was a police officer he was punching at.
"It was just one of those lash-out-fists situations," Mr Dollimore said.
He told the court his client had fallen and hit his head while in town earlier that night, and was later taken to Nelson Hospital for x-rays and to be checked for concussion.
He said Silker was a hard worker, holding down jobs at the Honest Lawyer country pub and Star Moving and Distribution, but he had lost a fishing job as a result of his bail curfew.
He was "genuinely apologetic" and had expressed remorse to the injured officer at the first opportunity, Mr Dollimore said.
Judge Hastings said Silker's crime was aggravated by his previous criminal history, which included four assault convictions.
He sentenced him to three months' community detention, six months' supervision, and 100 hours of community work, as well as ordering him to pay $200 in emotional harm reparation to the officer, and to complete a rehabilitation program.
Because the constable was injured during the course of his duties, the $200 would be donated to St Marks addiction residential treatment centre in Blenheim.
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