Tensions in workplace erupted

Last updated 05:00 29/05/2012

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Workplace tensions at a Southland meat plant were described last week in the Invercargill District Court when a meatworker admitted punching his supervisor, breaking his ribs.

Harvey Raymond Blair admitted injuring the supervisor with reckless disregard for the safety of others when he appeared before Judge Paul Whitehead.

The incident happened on April 19. Prosecutor Sergeant Penny Stratford said Blair and the victim had got into an argument at work. The victim was Blair's supervisor.

Later, as Blair was washing his hands, the victim turned off the tap and demanded an explanation from him. Blair later pushed him and punched him, she said. The supervisor tried to get away but was pursued by Blair.

He suffered broken ribs and bruising to his head, chest and jaw, Stratford said.

Blair's lawyer, Richard Smith, said his client was extremely remorseful for his actions but frustrations that had been brewing for some time had eventually got to him.

The pair had worked together at the Alliance plant for four seasons, but Blair had found some aspects of how the room was being managed frustrating, he said.

On the day of the incident, the pair had argued about how a saw was being used. The victim had also said some horrible words to Blair, he said.

Blair had lost his job and foregone between $8000 and $9000 in holiday pay as a result.

He had worked at Alliance for 31 years.

Judge Whitehead sentenced Blair to 175 hours' community work and ordered him to pay $500 emotional harm reparation.

References before the court showed people thought highly of Blair, he said.

Theft
Jonathan Rex Williams, 21, was sentenced to 70 hours' community work for theft on March 2 and sentenced to 40 hours' community work, to be served concurrently, and disqualified from driving for six months for driving while suspended on April 17.

Threatening to kill
Jamie Derek Anderson, 21, was sentenced to four months' home detention for threatening to kill a police officer on February 11, four charges of unlawfully interfering with vehicles on February 11 and four charges of wilful damage on February 3. He was also ordered to pay $249.25 reparation.

Assault
Dallas Francis Robert, 19, was sentenced to five months' home detention on several charges including intent to injure his mother, disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence to property on December 21, breaching intensive supervision on February 23, intentional damage on September 12 and breaching intensive supervision on January 19.

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Ricky Lee Stevenson, 24, was sentenced to six months' jail for assault on March 16.

Barry Neil Gaudin had a sentence of 100 hours' community work for assault cancelled and replaced with nine months' supervision.

Burglary
Gary James McCormack, 26, was remanded on bail till June 22 for sentence after he admitted burglary on April 9.

Driving
Jillian Leanne Strang, 41, was disqualified from driving for six months for driving carelessly causing injury on March 16.

Drink-driving
Nana Marama Corrine Rautahi, 25, was sentenced to 150 hours' community work and disqualified from driving for eight months for driving with a breath alcohol level of 654mcg on April 5.

Trent Lloyd Black, of Riverton, 445mcg on May 11 at Queenstown. Remanded on bail to July 6 for sentence.

- The Southland Times

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