Man facing jail skips country

Last updated 08:00 13/02/2013

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A 27-year-old Lake Hawea man who was warned he faced jail time after indecently assaulting a Queenstown woman has fled the country and failed to appear in the Queenstown District Court this week for sentencing.

A warrant to arrest was issued by Judge Kevin Phillips for Martin Arenatti-Cuna after he returned to Uruguay while on bail.

In court last month, Arenatti-Cuna admitted indecently assaulting the woman on December 16.

The judge ordered an emotional harm and pre-sentence report for sentencing and warned Arenatti-Cuna a custodial sentence was likely.

Arenatti-Cuna had told the woman she was "the most beautiful Kiwi woman he had ever seen" before indecently assaulting her.

He had been drinking in Queenstown before asking the victim about her private life and repeatedly complimenting her before kissing her on the mouth and asking her to come into his house on several occasions.

He tried to pull the woman out of a car and kissed her cheeks and face before licking her hand when she tried to push him away.

Arenatti-Cuna then started to rub her breasts and asked her to kiss him back before sliding his hand up her skirt and touching her upper thigh.

Lawyer Mike Newell said Arenatti-Cuna had been drinking while his wife and child were out of town. He was not used to alcohol, which was why the offending occurred.

Yesterday, Mr Newell was granted leave by the judge to withdraw from representing Arenatti-Cuna.

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- The Southland Times

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