Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Former 'bachelor' candidate fined $300 for CBD street brawl

Josh Lepage in an image posted to his Instagram account @joshlepage. Photo / via Instagram
Josh Lepage in an image posted to his Instagram account @joshlepage. Photo / via Instagram

A former Bachelor of the Year candidate involved in a mass brawl in Auckland's CBD has been fined for his involvement.

Joshua Antonio Lepage, 22, appeared in Auckland District Court this morning and admitted a charge of fighting in public.

He was arrested, along with a 25-year-old man, after cellphone footage of the fight went viral last month.

Footage of the Downtown brawl posted on Facebook last month went viral. Photo / via Facebook
Footage of the Downtown brawl posted on Facebook last month went viral. Photo / via Facebook

Lepage, a former 2013 Cleo Bachelor of the Year contestant, was fined $300 by Community Magistrate Diane Hale after his lawyer explained he was defending his girlfriend at the time.

Defence counsel Arlan Arman told the court his client, who had his own company working as a fitness trainer, had reacted violently because his partner had been knocked unconscious by someone.

Lepage had "somewhat of a public profile" because of previous modelling work and Mr Arman said the defendant had received "hate mail" when footage of his involvement was shared on social media.

The 22-year-old had also lost business as a result of the charges, the court heard.

Josh LePage in an image posted to his Instagram account @joshlepage. Photo / via Instagram
Josh LePage in an image posted to his Instagram account @joshlepage. Photo / via Instagram

Mr Arman said his client suffered from anxiety and depression, which had been exacerbated by the incident and its aftermath.

Ms Hale noted Lepage had been before the court last year on a charge of common assault for which he was also fined.

"Keep yourself out of these situations so you don't make yourself vulnerable in the future," she said.

The magistrate hoped the recent charge would be a "wake-up call" for the fitness trainer.

Outside court Lepage said he regretted his involvement in the brawl.

"But I don't regret defending my girlfriend from an aggressor," he added.

Police were called to a number of street fights that erupted outside the ferry terminal in Quay St, the McDonald's at Britomart in Queen St, the intersection of Quay and Queen Sts and Fort St early one Sunday morning last month.

The fights resulted in two men being hospitalised with serious injuries.

Auckland district prevention manager, Inspector Gary Davey, said at the time this type of violence was not unusual in the CBD, Karangahape Rd and Ponsonby.

"To varying degrees, some Thursday nights and most Friday and Saturday nights see alcohol-fuelled violence characterised by serious assaults, fighting and disorder in the early hours of the morning," he said.

"While there has been a small improvement in alcohol-fuelled violence since bars started shutting at 4am, the level of intoxication and level of harm caused from abusing alcohol is still far too high and things need to change."

Cellphone footage sent in to police from witnesses had been "invaluable" to investigators, police said.

The other man charged in relation to the fight will appear in court next week on a count of assault with intent to injure.

- NZ Herald

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