Teenager admits two 'unprovoked' assaults in Timaru

Austin Hurst was sentenced to supervision and community detention for assaulting two different people in the same night when he appeared in the Timaru District Court. (File photo)
JOHN BISSET/Stuff
Austin Hurst was sentenced to supervision and community detention for assaulting two different people in the same night when he appeared in the Timaru District Court. (File photo)

A South Canterbury teenager who assaulted two different people on the same night has been told by the judge that he is at a crossroads

Austin Hurst, 19, had previously pleaded guilty to counts of common assault when he appeared for sentencing before Judge Dominic Dravitzki at the Timaru District Court on Friday.

The first of the two July 9, 2021, assaults occurred in the Briscoes car park in Timaru after Hurst, according to Judge Dravitzki, approached the complainant and “made accusations” that the complainant had “intentions” towards Hurst’s girlfriend.

Hurst punched the complainant in the face, causing him to stumble. Later that evening, Hurst approached a driver of another car on Wai-Iti Rd and made accusations about how the complainant was looking at his girlfriend. Hurst punched the second complainant once in the side of the face.

Hurst later told police he was so intoxicated he did not recall the events.

Hurst’s defence counsel Matthew Bonniface told Judge Dravitzki that in the months since the assault, Hurst had made attempts to turn his life around.

“He is currently living in Orari. He's working at a dairy farm. He's been in steady employment, away from temptations of drugs and alcohol,” Bonniface said, also noting that a sentence of supervision could help stop cycles of offending.

Judge Dravitzki told Hurst the two assaults were “sustained and unprovoked”.

“It's quite apparent you were significantly affected by alcohol, and it's equally clear you were spoiling for a fight.”

Judge Dravitzki said the victim impact statement from the first complainant mentioned that he was now “uncomfortable going to places he used to enjoy”. He also said the cultural report raised some issues.

“You've had an extremely difficult and chaotic childhood, you don't have a lot of family support, but you do have some employment, and that has got to be positive.

“A sentence of supervision would enable some oversight for rehabilitative steps. You are at a crossroads in your life, if you don't change tack, you are likely to end up here (in Court) on a continued basis.”

Hurst was convicted and sentenced to nine months' supervision, and two months’ community detention, with provisions that he was to attend assessment for alcohol and drug abuse, attend any recommended counselling, and not to possess or consume any alcohol or non-prescribed drugs.

He also would have a daily curfew of 8.30pm to 4.30am as part of the community detention.

“I strongly encourage you to make the most of the counselling available during the sentence,” Judge Dravitzki said.