Appeal in tavern bashing

The second man jailed for a brutal assault of an Eltham man outside the Central Tavern is appealing his sentence.

Robert "Spoon" Douglas Clement, 27, denied a charge of wounding Michael John Hardgrave with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm on April 5, 2010, but was found guilty following a New Plymouth District Court trial.

Co-offender Noel Bland had been found guilty at an earlier trial and was sentenced to six years jail.

Clement's lawyer, Julian Hannam, confirmed an appeal has been lodged against the six-year sentence.

When sentencing Clement on December 3, Judge Allan Roberts said Hardgrave had deliberately broken two of the windows of Bryce Robins' Central Tavern in Eltham.

As a result Bland and Clement, and allegedly Robins, confronted Hardgrave and his friend outside. He was knocked to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked, suffering fractures to his cheeks and jaw. He was left with a permanent brain injury.

"I must sentence you on the same basis as I sentenced Bland," Judge Roberts told Clement.

The aggravating factors were the extreme violence on a man lying on the ground unable to defend himself, vigilante action, attack to the head and multiple assailants.

Judge Roberts said Clement was a major player in the assault and the evidence before the jury was "abundant".

Clement continued to protest his innocence but had convictions which reflected a life of intense alcohol abuse.

The victim impact report set out the life change enforced on Hardgrave, the judge said. He was "robbed of his health and vitality".

Since the appeal was laid, Robins has appeared in court in New Plymouth charged with the same offence. He was remanded on bail to his home in Perth to reappear in the new year for committal to trial.

Taranaki Daily News