Attack highlights binge drinking culture

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A Scottish man who kicked a man in the head in Queenstown fell victim to the "binge drinking culture" endemic in the resort, a judge says.

James Douglas Webster, 26, an electric cable joiner, appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday where he admitted assaulting David McIntosh with intent to injure in an altercation in The Mall on November 9.

Prosecutor Sergeant Ian Collin said the defendant had travelled from the Benmore area with work colleagues and had been drinking during the two-hour journey.

After checking into his accommodation Webster and his associates went to a bar and continued to drink.

After several hours, Webster made his way into The Mall and "crossed paths" with Mr McIntosh.

"[Webster] made derogatory comments about the victim's choice of clothing," Mr Collin said.

A verbal argument ensued before Mr McIntosh pushed Webster to the ground.

Webster got up and was again pushed down.

Eventually, Webster punched Mr McIntosh in the face and when the victim was on the ground he kicked him in the head, causing him to lose consciousness.

Webster ran away but was followed by members of the public and apprehended by police a short time later.

He admitted being involved in the altercation, but could not recall anything about the incident.

Defence counsel Phena Byrne said the physical altercation was initiated by the victim, who received a pre-charge warning for his part in the incident.

However, Webster accepted his actions were "completely inappropriate".

Judge Lawrence Ryan said even if the victim had provoked Webster, "the problem is that your response, by kicking him when he was on the ground, has taken this level of offending over and above just a brawl".

"You are liable [for] a term of imprisonment of up to three years."

However, Judge Ryan gave credit for the "genuine remorse" shown by Webster and references which indicated the incident was "completely out of character".

He referred to a comment Webster had made about the "binge drinking lifestyle" he had found himself in.

"This is a bit endemic in Queenstown, for reasons that are probably pretty evident to everyone.

"You have a binge drinking [culture] and violence seems to follow."

Webster was fined $500 and ordered to pay reparation of $1000 to Mr McIntosh.

- Otago Daily Times

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