Man admits hitting teenager at skatepark

An Opunake man admitted punching a teenager at a skate park.

An Opunake man admitted punching a teenager at a skate park.

A man accused a teenage skateboarder of stealing his son's bike, then hit him.

On November 25, the 16-year-old victim was at the Opunake skate park when Reuben William Baldwin arrived on foot, accompanied by two large dogs, and confronted him.

Baldwin said: "It was you that stole my son's bike, wasn't it," before he punched the defendant in the face, police prosecutor Sergeant Steve Hickey told Hawera District Court on Tuesday, where Baldwin had admitted a charge of common assault.

The punch broke the victim's glasses and caused a cut to the youth's lip.

As the victim was picking up the broken glasses, the defendant threw his skateboard at him, saying: 'This is your weapon, use it', Hickey said.

The victim ran off home and reported the incident to his parents.

"This was a situation of essentially vigilante justice after his son's bike was stolen," duty lawyer Megan Boyd told the court.

The defendant had begun doing voluntary community work in anticipation of the court appearance. He was currently supported by ACC and was dealing with some difficult personal circumstances, she said.

She suggested the court consider an emotional harm payment for the victim and restorative justice.

​Judge Phillip Crayton convicted Baldwin and remanded him on bail for sentence on March 23, allowing time for the restorative justice process.

 - Stuff

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