Supermarket assault disputed

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 13:00 28/11/2013

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Man accused of assaulting child outside supermarket

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Police have identified a man who allegedly assaulted a child outside a Stoke supermarket.

Following the publication of a Nelson Mail story yesterday, the man at the centre of the alleged incident has come forward, as well as other people with further information.

The incident outside Countdown Stoke, which allegedly involved a man in his 30s kicking a girl aged about 5 from behind, occurred on November 16 about 3.30pm, police say. A member of the public reported seeing a man swearing at a young girl while walking to a white 1995 Subaru stationwagon.

Police were unable to identify the owner of the vehicle because it had been sold before the inquiry.

Public Safety Team member and general duties Sergeant Jo Managh said that at first glance, police were seriously considering charging the man with assault.

"We will not tolerate domestic violence of any form, regardless if it is a child or an adult," she said.

Such an assault carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

Police had to first collate their information and contact a further potential witness who was in the vehicle at the time of the alleged assault, she said.

The second person who had come forward saw the lead-up to the incident but not the altercation itself, she said.

Police also had to get in touch with the supermarket to check whether it had security camera footage of the alleged incident.

Meanwhile, in response to the story distributed on the Nelson Mail's Facebook page, a woman said that if a child was about to be hit by a car while running in a carpark, her father might have no other option but to "give her a light tap on the backside to get her out of the way".

The woman, who said she was connected to the incident, said there was no swearing and the child was not shoved forward.

The girl was laughing with her father when she got back to the car, she said.

"He had his hands full, so gave her a soft tap on the backside, as she was not listening. He did not abuse or swear at her.

"But I suppose the ‘law' would've preferred him to let her run out in front of the car and get hit."

Police were expected to decide later today whether to charge the man.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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