Man hospitalised 'workplace bully'

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 13:39 18/06/2014

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A 32-year-old Kaiapoi man who "dealt to" a workmate described in court as a racist bully has been given community detention and community work.

The complainant at the Christchurch woodturning business was not present in the Christchurch District Court today to hear Judge Paul Kellar's comments at the sentencing of John Kaukura on a charge of intentionally injuring the man.

The assault happened at the end of 12 months of threats and racial abuse.

Defence counsel Bryan Green had sought a sentencing indication hearing for Kaukura that also involved reducing a charge from wounding to intentionally injuring the man. Kaukura accepted the judge's indication of a likely community-based sentence.

The judge accepted that the complainant - described as a younger and larger man - had "contributed significantly" to the offending.

"I accepted Mr Green's submission that the offending was a result of you trying to put an end to what can only be described as threatening behaviour by the victim," the judge said.

"One person referred to that behaviour as 12 months of serious abuse, including racial abuse, to which of course there can be no tolerance."

The workmate's behaviour was described as insulting, demeaning and confrontational. The racial abuse was dished out almost daily to Kaukura and others.

Kaukura received a note from the workmate on October 8 to step out for a fight. He did.

"This was the only time someone had taken him up on it," the judge said.

Kaukura grabbed the man by the shoulder and punched him 10 times.

The workmate raised his arms to protect himself but never managed to get a punch in.

He received a fractured eye socket, bruising around the right eye, his bottom lip became detached from the gum and his teeth were pushed through his bottom lip. He needed surgery to insert a plate.

The judge noted that the complainant had received physical injuries and "emotional harm".

He said Kaukura identified strongly with his Cook Islands heritage and wanted to get counselling to address issues of violence.

"You and your wife believe your identification with your cultural heritage is a positive factor in your life," the judge said.

He sentenced Kaukura to six months' community detention, when he will be curfewed at home every night, and 200 hours of community work.

"In this case, a sentence of imprisonment is not necessary to achieve sentencing objectives," the judge said.

Kaukura has changed to another workplace since the incident.

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