Former All Black and Chiefs player Keith Robinson has spoken of his regret over an alcohol-fuelled assault which left his "lippy" victim needing three days off work.
Robinson, 36, was sentenced in Rotorua District Court today to 300 hours' community work, nine months' supervision and was ordered to pay $1000 reparation at $50 a week to his victim.
He had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of injuring with intent to injure.
The assault by the 1.97m, 116kg former lock happened outside the Palace Hotel in Te Aroha on December 9 last year after Robinson and a group of about 50 other men had been on a "man-cave" tour of several properties around the town.
Sentencing was adjourned yesterday as Judge James Weir was unhappy with inconsistencies between the police summary of facts, prepared after Robinson pleaded guilty, and documents including the notebook entries of the police officer who attended the incident.
Police said they were not prepared to amend the summary and Judge Weir today proceeded with sentencing taking into account all the documents available to him.
He said the way the case had progressed had been unsatisfactory from the outset, including Robinson pleading guilty before the facts had been agreed.
In response, Robinson's lawyer Moana Dorset said he had made the guilty plea as police were considering laying more serious charges.
Judge Weir said the officer recorded in his notebook that the victim, a Te Aroha man believed to be about 50, had been provocative and annoying all day, with one witness describing him as "lippy" and "mouthy".
"He [the victim] was apparently spoken to by this officer and said he didn't want to talk about it and didn't want to prosecute it and he got what he deserved," Judge Weir said.
Video footage showed the pair having a verbal altercation, exchanging pushes on the hotel deck then walking freely together down the stairs into a car park out of view, Judge Weir said.
He said the victim impact statement showed the victim had suffered "reasonably significant" injuries, including swelling and grazing to the head causing a bad headache for 10 days. He also suffered a sore jaw, swollen tongue, grazes to his shoulder and hip and cuts to his ankle and toe. The victim had three days off work as a result and was left traumatised.
The judge said alcohol was clearly involved, on both sides.
"It's also clear that you are a significantly bigger and stronger person than him," Judge Weir told Robinson. "The injuries... could have been a lot worse."
Judge Weir said he had put aside Robinson's sporting career and profile, despite the media interest.
"What is important is your previous history and the contribution you make to the community in other ways and how you impressed the probation officer," he said.
He said Robinson had already self-referred to a 24-week anger management course and he ordered that be completed, along with an anti-violence programme.
The judge also took account of Robinson's early guilty plea, lack of recent relevant convictions and his genuine remorse.
"You admit that you lost it but you have expressed your remorse for your actions," he said.
Outside court Robinson said he deeply regretted the incident and was relieved the case was over.
He said his family, friends and clubs and organisations he had been, and was still involved with, had been dragged into the incident via the media.
"I would like to apologise to my friends and family and those clubs and organisations and all the people involved in them for having to go through this with me," he said.
Robinson did not want to comment on the sentence.