Internet troll pleads guilty to assault

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Tristan Barker in the Rotorua District Court today. Photo / Stephen Parker
Tristan Barker in the Rotorua District Court today. Photo / Stephen Parker

A Rotorua 18-year-old described as an internet troll has admitted assaulting an Australian TV reporter.

Tristan Barker - whose father Michael is a former drummer for Split Enz - appeared briefly in the Rotorua District Court today.

He admitted assaulting Today Tonight reporter Dave Eccleston in Rotorua earlier last month, after the reporter came to New Zealand to interview Barker about his online activity.

The teenager was remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing on June 19.

Barker has drawn attention in Australia and New Zealand for his online posts, where he appears to have posted material that has upset many people.

Barker has hundreds of thousands of teenage "fans" who read his rants on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Barker has previously defended his son, saying the teenager had a talent for being satirical, that he had been misquoted and his comments were taken out of context many times.

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