Woman hit with spade in self defence, court told

By Corey Charlton

A man who hit his partner over the head with a spade during a domestic incident which left her with a fractured skull was acting in self-defence, a court has heard.

A jury at the Napier District Court heard yesterday how Andrew Tauira Whatarau admitted to police to hitting his former partner twice with the spade during a "tussle" at his home in Maraenui in the early hours of April 22 last year.

Whatarau said he had hit her with the spade during the tussle in which she was attempting to attack him with a large tree branch.

This was after she had punched him at a party the two attended earlier in the evening, as well as attempts by Whatarau to get her to leave his property before she was injured, defence lawyer Scott Jefferson said.

"If he was the angry, violent, assertive type to take to someone with a spade out of anger and frustration, would he have sat at that party and let [her] punch him in the face with a closed fist multiple times and done nothing?" Mr Jefferson said.

Whatarau is defending a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the incident last year.

The prosecution and defence both made their closing arguments yesterday afternoon and the trial was adjourned until this morning when the jury are expected to begin their deliberations.

What the Crown alleged Whatarau had done was not consistent with his actions earlier that morning and the day before, Mr Jefferson said.

"He was acting in self-defence, there is no two ways about it."

Crown prosecutor Nicola Graham reminded the jury yesterday a neighbour heard noises which sounded like a "frying pan to the head" during the incident.

Any of the woman's injuries, which included a fractured skull, bleeding around the brain and a 6cm wound to the back of her head, amounted to "really serious harm" and his actions were those of an "incredibly angry and callous man".

"He snapped, he lost his cool and he rushed outside and he clocked her to the head."

Mrs Graham had previously told the jury Whatarau's response was "definitely" not reasonable given the circumstances.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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