Tristan Barker loses appeal against conviction

By Dana Kinita -
Tristan Barker
Tristan Barker

Former Rotorua teen Tristan Barker has lost his appeal against his conviction for assaulting an Australian television journalist.

In a reserved decision, Justice Edwin Wylie has supported Judge Maree MacKenzie's sentence in the Rotorua District Court last September of convicting and discharging Barker.

The 19-year-old had pleaded guilty last year to the assault on Australia's Seven Network's Today Tonight reporter Dave Eccleston who had travelled to Rotorua to interview him about his controversial online activity.

His lawyer, Bill Lawson, appealed the conviction last month on the grounds the conviction jeopordised his client's ability to travel to the United States for work or education. Barker had been offered a basketball scholarship in the past and may be required to travel overseas in his job in the entertainment industry.

Judge Mackenzie considered Barker's current employment had not been affected and that the stigma of a conviction was simply a general consequence.

Justice Wylie said there was no evidence of a "real or appreciable" risk that a visa application into another country might be denied.

"It is also noteworthy that Mr Barker received a conviction and discharge, as opposed to a conviction and another sentence, such as community work. The important factor to consider is not the conviction, but the underlying criminality involved in the assault," Justice Wylie noted.

"Judge MacKenzie was entitled to determine that the consequences were not out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending, and she was right to enter the conviction against Mr Barker."

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