Unprovoked assault part of 'epidemic' of violence

Last updated 05:00 04/07/2014

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The actions of two young men who randomly assaulted a patron of a Cromwell bar were part of an "epidemic" of unprovoked violence in New Zealand, Judge Stephen Coyle said in the Alexandra District Court.

Shannon William Brown, 26, labourer of Cromwell, and Te Rapi Rapi Billy Gordon Tumai-Totorewa, 24, forklift operator of Cromwell, appeared on assault charges yesterday.

The court was told the pair were drinking at the Golden Gate Lodge on April 6 when with no explanation they approached the victim in an aggressive and confrontational manner. "You and your friend grabbed him and the three of you fell to the ground. He was punched about the head, face and body," the judge said.

The pair continued to assault the victim - who was not known to them - while he was on the ground.

"You appear to be part of what seems an epidemic in New Zealand where people get drunk, take a dislike to someone then without any provocation start laying into them.

"There is a fine line between street thuggery and you killing someone."

The victim, in a victim impact statement, said while he suffered no serious injuries, he remained "perplexed" and "confused" as to why he was picked on, the judge said.

"He says he will get over it, it will not cause him any long-term effects, but understandably expresses some surprise and concern he was simply going out for a good time and got set upon."

Brown was convicted and sentenced to three months of community detention, with a curfew of 7pm to 6am, seven days a week. He was also sentenced to six months of supervision and to attend a drug and alcohol programme.

Tumai-Totorewa was convicted and sentenced to three months of community detention and a "weekend lock-down" curfew of 7pm to 7am.

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- The Southland Times

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