Farmer convicted for role in punch-up

A Southland farmer who became part of a brawl at a Riverton pub, where a bystander was seriously injured, appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday.

Brendon John Phillips, dairy farmer, of Gropers Bush, appeared before Judge Michael Turner and was sentenced to 120 hours' community work and six months' supervision for behaving in a disorderly manner likely to cause violence between April 13 and 14 at the Aparima Tavern.

The court was told Phillips received a text and arrived at the tavern to confront an ex-employee, who had walked out on him during the calving season.

There had already been unrest earlier at the tavern before Phillips arrived. He got into an altercation with his ex-employee and then later got involved in a fight with another patron, the court was told.

Judge Turner said a large brawl developed at the tavern and while Phillip was not involved initially, his altercation with this ex-employee and another patron added to the mayhem.

What was of concern was that an innocent person, who attempted to help break up the brawl, received serious head injuries and was taken to Dunedin Hospital, Judge Turner said.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Rob Mills said nine people faced charges from the brawl and four people required hospital treatment.

The Southland Times