Man tells of being stitched back together

Last updated 10:52 15/08/2013

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A man told an Invercargill jury yesterday that his face was stitched back together after he was attacked by a 51-year-old man with a piece of wood.

The jury trial for Gregory Claxton continued in the Invercargill District Court yesterday.

Claxton has pleaded not guilty to four violence offences alleged to have happened on December 2 in Nelson St, Invercargill.

He is accused of wounding James Ernest Ashbrook with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, wounding Demi-Lee Robyn Gemmell with intent to cause injury, injuring Jacob James Tenamu with intent to injure and assaulting Javahn Raymond Tuaiti Mouakarere Heath using a gardening implement as a weapon.

The Crown alleges Claxton banged on the fence of a neighbouring property to quieten down party-goers, but later, when some of them were leaving the neighbouring house, they noticed spray paint on a vehicle and assumed Claxton had done it.

The Crown alleged Claxton assaulted four of the party-goers but defence lawyer Hugo Young said Claxton was scared for his safety and acting in self-defence.

In court yesterday, Mr Ashbrook said he was told a vehicle had been spraypainted outside his house during his daughter's birthday party. He noticed a female had been assaulted.

Claxton was standing on his front porch when Mr Ashbrook walked onto the footpath and asked him what he was playing at, he said.

Claxton picked up a piece of wood, charged at him and hit him in the head with it, telling him to get away from his house, Mr Ashbrook said.

Mr Ashbrook grabbed the end of the wood and tossed it away but Claxton hit him with something else, knocking him to the ground before hitting him again, Mr Ashbrook said.

Mr Ashbrook was taken to the emergency department and "they stitched me back together".

He suffered cuts to his forehead and face, bruising on his legs and a deep stab wound to his shoulder, he said.

Mr Young suggested to Mr Ashbrook that he had gone to Claxton's property with an angry group of five or six people with the idea of hurting him.

Mr Ashbrook said that was not true; he went by himself and wanted an explanation as to why Claxton had hit the female.

Mr Young suggested it was payback and Mr Ashbrook wanted to "get him".

Mr Ashbrook said that was not true.

Mr Tenamu told the jury yesterday he and his cousin also went to Claxton's property and saw him standing at his front door with a weapon.

Mr Tenamu said he walked onto the property and verbally abused Claxton. Claxton hit him in the head with the weapon causing him to fall to the ground where he was hit again, he said.

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The trial, before Judge Kevin Phillips, continues today.

- The Southland Times

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