The punching of a 73-year-old man after a car crash earlier this year was "utterly disgraceful", Judge Raoul Neave told a 27-year-old forestry worker in the Dunedin District Court yesterday.
Keri Arohanui Temana was sentenced to 200 hours community work and 12 months intensive supervision after admitting a Crimes Act charge of assault. He was also ordered to pay $500 emotional harm reparation to the victim.
The police summary said Temana was a passenger in a car involved in a collision with a car driven by the victim in Malvern St just after 11am on April 21.
Immediately after, Temana got out of the vehicle and ran to the driver's side of the other vehicle, yelling abuse as he approached.
While the victim was trying to get out of his vehicle, Temana grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and punched him once in the face, causing him to fall backwards on to the road and hit his head.
Temana then walked away leaving the victim on the ground.
The victim received a cut and bleeding to his left eyebrow, bruising to his left eye, bruising to his nose and right temple and grazing to the back of his head. He also had nausea and headaches afterwards.
Public defender Catherine Ure said the car in which Temana was a passenger was not at fault. However, Temana recognised his reaction to what happened was "extremely disproportionate". The accident had given him a significant fright and children in the car were very upset.
Temana was in shock before and during the assault. But after initially walking away, and realising the victim was elderly, he returned and helped the victim to the side of the road.
Although the victim's injuries from the punch were at the lower end, Temana appreciated the consequences could have been more serious. He was particularly remorseful.
Restorative justice was declined on the basis of the victim impact statement. Temana was disappointed as he would like to have apologised to the victim in person, Miss Ure said. Temana had spent 42 days in custody on remand.
Judge Neave said the driver of Temana's vehicle was not at fault. But Temana took it upon himself to administer some punishment to the elderly driver of the other vehicle. Fortunately there did not appear to be any lasting physical effects. But for both the victim, and his wife who witnessed the event, there were other effects.
The matter was made worse by Temana's long history of violence. He was someone who had not learned to keep his fists to himself, the judge said.
"The pre-sentence report says feel ashamed of what you've done. I should hope so ... it was utterly disgraceful", he told him.
Like Temana, he regretted there was not the opportunity of restorative justice, the judge said. It could have been therapeutic for all involved.
In imposing sentence, the judge took into account it was a one-punch assault, Temana had had the equivalent of about a three-month sentence of imprisonment on remand, and he had demonstrated readiness to make reparation.
Temana's intensive supervision is with special conditions. His community work is with leave to be converted to hours of training, and he is to pay the reparation at $10 a week.
At the request of prosecutor Sergeant Steven Armitage there was final suppression of the victim's name.