Hollywood actor Sam Neill's son-in- law was yesterday convicted of drunkenly assaulting a nightclub bouncer when he appeared in the Queenstown District Court.
Alex Edward Stephenson, 23, a tattooist, appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips charged with injuring with intent to injure bouncer and ex-British Army soldier Simon Garraghan, who was working in the World Bar on March 16.
Stephenson, who is British, is married to Sam Neill's youngest daughter, Elena.
The charge was amended to assault with intent to injure and a guilty plea was entered. He was sentenced to 100 hours' community work and ordered to pay $500 emotional harm reparation.
Judge Phillips said he was impressed by evidence given by Mr Garraghan, who was adamant that Stephenson was the man who assaulted him during a two-stage struggle shortly after midnight.
The defendant was drunk and causing difficulties for the bouncer and chose to act "like a chimpanzee", the judge said.
A summary of facts said the pair went to ground during the struggle, Stephenson placed his thumb into the bouncer's right eye socket and gouged at his eyeball three or four times.
Stephenson was removed from the bar and restrained until police arrived while the bouncer suffered a bleeding eye, burst blood vessels and needed medical treatment, but there was no lasting damage.
The judge accepted there was no intention to gouge out an eyeball. "You need to take note, if you get into further difficulty it would not be dealt with in this way."
The court was shown CCTV footage of a melee in World Bar, which was gutted by a fire in May, in which Stephenson, a friend and bouncers were involved in a brief struggle that spilled from the back bar into the front bar.
Garraghan asked Stephenson to leave because he was intoxicated. As he was being escorted he was abusive and grabbed the bouncer by the throat.
- The Southland Times