Violence message not hollow words - judge

A Taranaki judge sentencing a man for a vicious attack on his partner described domestic abuse as a blight on New Zealand society.

Tepuia Harris Ngarotata, 26, pleaded guilty to injuring his partner with intent to injure her.

After a drinking session the night before, he had argued with his partner at 6am in their bedroom where they and their two young children were sleeping, the New Plymouth District Court heard yesterday.

He first grabbed her by the hair, pulling her onto the floor. While she was rolled up in the foetal position, he slammed the door into the back of her head several times.

When she got to her knees he hit her in the eye with his closed fist.

He then threw her on the bed and twice strangled her to the point of unconsciousness.

While Ngarotata denied the strangling, the proof was in the medical report, which showed pinpoint bleeding in her eyes caused by strangulation, Judge Allan Roberts said.

Ngarotata's lawyer, Turitea Bolstad, accepted the police summary of the attack did not read well.

However, she asked for a sentence short of prison after her client underwent domestic violence counselling and had taken a responsible approach to his alcohol consumption.

Judge Roberts said there had been six previous incidents of family violence between the pair during the six years of their relationship. Ngarotata continued to downplay his behaviour.

The two wanted to get back together, the court heard.

Judge Roberts rejected the sentencing recommendation for supervision and community work, saying the attack was serious and prolonged domestic violence, which was inexcusable.

"The sentence must be jail. Domestic violence is a blight on our society," the judge said.

The words of the anti-violence campaign, "Domestic violence is not OK", were relevant and should not be seen as hollow words, Judge Roberts said.

Home detention was inappropriate and the 12 months' prison sentence would be served, the judge said.

After release Ngarotata is to undergo six months' counselling for alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence counselling.

Taranaki Daily News