A middle-aged man throttled a teenage girl at a central Nelson nightclub because she pocketed cigarette papers that weren't hers, a court has heard.
Nelson sickness beneficiary Mark Edward Bennett, 48, admitted assaulting an 18-year-old woman on Bridge St at about 2am on Sunday, September 8.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of male assaults female through his defence lawyer Wayne Jones at the Nelson District Court.
Prosecutor Chris Stringer said Bennett had been drinking at the Shark Club on Bridge St, where he became moderately intoxicated before getting into an altercation with an unknown woman.
Bennett had seen the woman pick up an empty tobacco packet from the footpath in front of the club and pocket the rolling papers that were inside, Mr Stringer said.
He told her to hand them over, claiming they were his, and threatened to "knock her out" when she refused.
Mr Stringer said the woman did not hand them over to Bennett because she knew they did not belong to him.
He said Bennett became enraged, grabbing the woman around her throat and pushing her up against the outside wall of the club as he tried to reach into her bag to get the papers.
Friends and by-standers came to the woman's aid, grabbing Bennett and pulling him off her.
She was left with bruising around her neck and ribs, Mr Stringer said.
Mr Jones said Bennett was a beneficiary on a limited income, and asked that he receive a sentence of community work.
Judge Richard Russell said Bennett had behaved poorly and "grossly over-reacted on any view of it".
He warned Bennett, who was convicted for a different assault two years earlier, he would be sentenced much more harshly if he commits another assault in the future.
Bennett was ordered to complete 120 hours' community work.
- © Fairfax NZ News