Internet troll Tristan Barker has today been convicted and discharged in the Rotorua District Court and ordered to pay a $500 emotional harm payment.
Barker, son of former Split Enz drummer Michael Barker, had sought a discharge without conviction for an assault on Sydney television reporter David Eccleston in March.
He appeared upset as Judge Marie McKenzie delivered her verdict.
Mitigating factors put forward by Barker's lawyer, Bill Rawson, had some merit but she could find no evidence that a conviction would impact on Barker's career prospects. she said.
Barker's offer of an emotional harm payment had not specified an amount of money so was "not a front-footed offer by you", the judge said.
She said the assault, in which Barker struck Eccleston twice in the head, as "an assault on a stranger simply doing his job". The second blow, struck when Eccleston was attempting to walk away, was "gratuitous".
"I regard this assault as serious," she said.
"To consider this acceptable behaviour is a bad message to send."
While the police had not objected to the discharge without conviction, Eccleston had been opposed, Judge McKenzie said.
In his victim impact statement, Eccleston said he had suffered physical and psychological damage as a result of the assault.
"He has never felt more under threat for his personal safety. It was horrifying," Judge McKenzie said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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