An Auckland man has failed in his appeal against a jail sentence for beating his wife with a hammer.
Yasir Mohib, of Auckland, claimed that the 12 months' jail sentence was manifestly excessive. But High Court judge Paul Davison said in his reserved decision released today dismissing the appeal, that the sentence reached by the District Court judge was open to him and was justified and proportionate.
Mohib had pleaded guilty to charges of assault with a weapon, assault, and behaving threateningly.
His lawyer, Tracey Fitzgibbon, had argued that a sentence of home detention should have been imposed, that the sentencing judge's starting point of a term of 15 months in jail was too high and that he was given too little discount for previous good record, taking part in restorative justice and efforts at rehabilitation.
Justice Davison said that while the District Court judge could have been clearer by assessing factors around each charge separately rather than together, that had not resulted in a flawed final determination of Mohib's sentence.
Mohib had been given appropriate credit for the aspects his lawyer raised but this was limited in light of his behavious to accept full responsibility.
He agreed with the lower court judge that it was a serious concern that Mohib was denying using a hammer despite his guilty plea to the relevant charge and "the unquestionable fact of him having struck his wife multiple times with a hammer".
Justice Davison said this demonstrates that he does not truly acknowledge responsibility for his actions. "Such denial is wholly inconsistent with genuine remorse and is an obstacle to effective rehabilitation and reform."
He noted a probation officer's report which said Mohib's concerns following his offending were focused on the impact it would have on his immigration status.
"Such concerns surrounding his and his family's immigration status, may well have influenced the victim and led to her recanting her complaint notwithstanding the clear and compelling evidence of her injuries."
According to the statement of facts that Mohib did not challenge when he pleaded guilty, the charges arose from assaults that occurred in May 2015 when he was watching a movie at home with his wife and a second partner whom he married in a religious ceremony. The victim asked Mohib why he was holding the other wife's hand, but not hers.
The other woman left the room and Mohib slapped the victim in the face, then punched her multiple times in the head.
He told her: "We'll finish this after the movie, don't say a word." After the movie ended the other woman left the room and Mohib returned with a hammer and told the victim: "This is for you."
He hit her multiple times with blows to the arms and legs, leaving at least five large bruises.
The victim begged for her life and Mohib relented and hugged her.
When initially sentenced, he was granted a discharge without conviction. This was overturned on appeal and the matter returned to the District Court where he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
In October, after the discharge has overturned, Mohib told the Herald he feared the consequences of a conviction for his family.
"If I did wrong I should be punished for it but not my whole family," he said.
"That's my only point, that it could affect my whole family, my five little kids, my wives. There is no way we are going to be separated. So if I get deported it means all of these guys need to go to Pakistan."
Mohib has worked in New Zealand for property management and security firms and ran his own meat wholesaling business. He is not currently working. His work visa was not renewed after he was charged with the assault.
His application for permanent residency is on hold, he said.