A woman whose lie triggered a brutal street attack was lucky not to be charged, a court has heard.
Her lie about a man assaulting her led to the victim being smashed with a wooden baton, causing a skull fracture.
Judge Raoul Neave said: "I would have thought she was criminally liable. She's jolly lucky not to be standing in the dock. Her behaviour was disgraceful in the extreme."
He imposed a year's home detention on Peter Raymond Snowden, 36, after his guilty plea to a charge of injuring the victim with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Snowden was ordered him to pay a total of $1350 reparations to the victim.
"There is absolutely no warrant whatever for people taking the law into their own hands and administering any form of summary justice," the judge said.
"In so many cases, as we have here today, you get it wrong and administer justice where none is deserved."
The incident happened late on January 15 when the victim became involved in a fight started by the woman in a Ferry Rd bar, and both of them were thrown out.
The woman then contacted Snowden to pick her up and told him, wrongly, that the victim had assaulted her.
Snowden quickly arrived, punched the man several times in the head, got a wooden baton out of the car and beat him to the ground with it.
He continued bashing him around the upper body and head until people stopped the assault.
The victim had a depressed skull fracture, broken finger, black eye and cuts to the head needing stitches.
Crown prosecutor Marcus Zintl said Snowden had been on bail for another violent offence at the time of the assault.
Defence counsel David Stringer said Snowden had now given up drugs and alcohol and gambling, and had made good progress on the He Waka Tapu rehabilitation course.
He argued for a sentence of home detention. Snowden accepted that he had over-reacted with his assault on the man, and wanted to make amends.
Judge Neave noted the progress Snowden had made.
"You have assumed a positive leadership role at He Waka Tapu, which has been helpful to younger persons on the course. You are providing the means by which others may learn and change their ways," he said.
Snowden was assessed as a medium risk of harm to others, but this risk was reducing as he went through the counselling programme.
He also noted that Snowden was in fulltime work as a painter and decorator doing earthquake repairs and had the support of his employer.
"You are positively contributing to the community and doing your best to ensure that all our lives are improved," the judge said.
He imposed a year's home detention, with an additional six months of special conditions to ensure the courses are completed as directed, and ordered Snowden to pay $350 for the victim's expenses and another $1000 for emotional harm.
Snowden has been given a first-strike warning that imposes heavier penalties for repeat violent offending.
He thanked the judge as he left the dock.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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