Partner avoids jail for attack

By Court Reporter

A 23-year-old man has been spared a prison term so he can seek help for problems with substance abuse and violence following a sustained attack on his partner and their 6-year-old son.

About 8.30am on November 12, 2012, for no apparent reason, Bodene Benjamin Tekaha Hati kicked his partner in the back as she opened the curtains in their lounge.

She left the room to prepare breakfast. In the meantime, Hati grabbed their 6-year-old son by his hair.

The boy's feet were airborne. Hati then threw him on to a bed in the lounge.

Hati's partner yelled at him to stop, so he pushed her into a wall, before twice punching the left side of her face with a closed fist and kicking and punching her stomach.

Hati followed his partner into the bathroom, where he told her she was "lucky that was all you got" and then grabbed her by the throat until she was gasping for breath.

She struggled free, but Hati caught up with her in an adjacent bedroom and kicked her three-to-four times in the left thigh and twice in the stomach.

At the time of the attack, Hati and his victim had been in a relationship for eight years and had two children: a 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. His partner thought she may have been pregnant.

She returned to the kitchen to continue preparing breakfast but soon heard yelling and discovered her son and Hati in the lounge. Hati told his two victims to go outside.

But once there, he grabbed his son, pulled him back inside, threw him against a wall and slapped his face.

In the Whanganui District Court last Friday, Judge Dugald Matheson said he was surprised by Hati's pre-sentence report, which recommended home detention, when imprisonment would have been appropriate.

Hati's partner was left swollen and bruised, while the child was clearly affected by the incident, Judge Matheson said.

Hati had just lost his job and was in the process of moving back to Wainuiomata to be with his family.

He was angry with his partner because she hadn't paid the bills.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Stephen Butler called for a term of imprisonment.

Mr Butler said Hati had already been convicted in 2009 of assault, against the same woman.

Judge Matheson said Hati needed the support of his family and the community probation service to fix his problems with substance abuse and violence.

On charges of injuring with intent to injure and assault on a child, Hati was convicted and sentenced to six months' home detention, and a further four months' home detention for a charge of driving with an excess breath-alcohol level on May 20, 2012.

He will serve his sentence in Wainuiomata.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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