A Northlander who smashed a ute into three power poles to hurt his partner has been sentenced to more than six years in jail.

Peter John Orchard's actions left his partner with bruises all over her body and she had to spend three days in hospital. The couple's children, who were in the back seat when Orchard deliberately crashed, were unhurt but traumatised.

The 38-year-old was sentenced to six years and nine months in jail when he appeared in the High Court at Whangarei this morning.

He pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving, breaching a protection order, and two charges of common assault.

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The Crown withdrew a charge of attempted murder at sentencing.

Justice Mathew Downs said Orchard was driving his partner and three children to Kerikeri on January 6 when he became upset about a text message she received.

A Serious Crash Unit investigator at the Kerikeri spot where an agitated Peter Orchard crashed. Photo/File
A Serious Crash Unit investigator at the Kerikeri spot where an agitated Peter Orchard crashed. Photo/File

The exact nature of the text message was not known but it concerned allegations about him.

Orchard said he had nothing to lose and made other remarks, Justice Downs said. Orchard then deliberately drove off the road into several road signs and then at three lamp posts.

Before hitting the first of the three, he undid his partner's seat belt and ensured the line of lamp posts were on her side of the vehicle.

Orchard ran down the first two lamp posts, but the third caused the car to flip and rest on its passengers' side.

She had to be cut free by firefighters from Kerikeri.

Justice Downs said Orchard's partner had a protection order against him at the time.

He used his car as a weapon and the offending involved extreme violence, the judge said.

He said Orchard's partner was vulnerable as her head was likely to have suffered the bulk of the injuries.

Orchard was also disqualified from driving for six months, starting when he was released from jail.