East Auckland bar fight involving Te Reo speaker unravelled in court

Shona Maiden admitted a count of common assault and in March was sentenced to what amounted to a one-year good behaviour bond. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Shona Maiden admitted a count of common assault and in March was sentenced to what amounted to a one-year good behaviour bond. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A fight outside an east Auckland bar which made New Year's headlines has finally been unravelled in court.

Shona Maiden, 46, sparked a public uproar when she claimed to have been punched for speaking te reo as she was leaving the 123 Casino Karaoke Bar in Howick in the early hours of the morning.

She claimed a man took issue with that and questioned why a "Palagi" (European) would use such words, before hitting her in the mouth.

But the truth was cloudier and came out after both she and 43-year-old Ernest Opai were charged by police.

CCTV footage showed she had punched him several times outside the bar and witnesses told officers there had been words exchanged between the pair throughout the night.

Despite initially telling the Herald the attack had been unprovoked, Maiden admitted a count of common assault and in March was sentenced to what amounted to a one-year good behaviour bond.

Today, Opai had his punishment dished out after pleading guilty to an identical charge.

Judge Gerard Winter sentenced him to 80 hours of community work and 6 months supervision.

The judge labelled it "alcohol-fuelled violence" after hearing Opai had drunk eight bottles of beer leading up to the fight.

"On this occasion you drunk far too much," he said. "It explains it but it doesn't excuse it."

Defence lawyer Julie Ding stressed the fact her client was not the aggressor but accepted that did not provide a legal defence.

"It's fair to say there was a certain amount of give and take of abuse and rudeness," Judge Winter said.

Opai was ordered to pay $375 for breaking the victim's dental plate and injuring her lip.

He would make payments of $20 a week, the court heard.

- NZ Herald

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