Dad denies attack at kid's party

22:13, Jul 27 2014

A fight which kicked off over clothing left a man with head injuries and his wife with a shattered knee, a New Plymouth District Court jury has heard.

Tamati Thomas, 33, unemployed of New Plymouth, has argued police got the wrong man after he was charged with violence-related charges which happened outside an Eltham house following a child's birthday party on July 20 last year.

About six adults at the party had been drinking.

Thomas has denied the attack on three people.

The charges include wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, injuring with intent, assault with a weapon (a knife), assaulting a female, breaching a protection order and threatening to cause grievous bodily harm.

The worst-injured, Wayne Waller, ended up in intensive care at Taranaki Base Hospital with head injuries.


Crown prosecutor Nina Laird said the Crown would prove it was Thomas who went looking for his former partner, Stacey Nolly, who had taken their two young boys to the birthday party at her friend's home.

Thomas was in the company of another man who police have been unable to identify, Laird said.

When the occupants came out to confront Thomas, he allegedly brandished a knife and struck Waller with the butt, knocking him unconscious.

Laird said Waller was kicked from head to toe by the two men while he lay unresponsive on the ground.

His wife, Erin Toopi, and a neighbour tried to stop the assault on the fallen man and were also assaulted.

The confrontation came after Thomas and Nolly were texting one another earlier in the day about her newly-washed clothes.

Nolly had left the clothes at his New Plymouth home while staying the night with him. She told him she had his singlet.

The texts from Thomas got increasingly abusive.

Laird said Thomas arrived at the Eltham house in the mate's car about 10.20pm.

When Nolly came outside her house to see him, he pulled up his shirt to show her a knife in his trousers.

Waller intervened and Thomas hit him in the face with the butt of the knife so forcefully he ended up unresponsive on the ground.

Thomas and the unknown man started kicking him.

Toopi tried to intervene, standing over her husband's head to protect him and received a number of punches. One was so severe she, too, was knocked to the ground.

The neighbour, who tried to calm the situation down was also hit.

Susan Hughes QC, for the defence, had filed a notice of alibi evidence where four people would give evidence that Thomas was at his home when the assault took place.

The issue for the jury was whether or not it was Thomas at the Eltham house that day and it would become clear to them that he was, Laird said.

Taranaki Daily News