A Tauranga process worker who knocked another man unconscious, leaving him with bleeding to the brain, over a can of booze has avoided jail.
After punching his victim in the head when the other man wanted his can of pre-mixed alcohol back, Sioelo Faaui walked past the victim and left in a vehicle.
Faaui, 21, appeared in the Tauranga District Court before Judge David Cameron yesterday to be sentenced on one charge of wounding with reckless disregard for the safety of other persons. He had pleaded guilty to the charge at an earlier appearance.
He was sentenced to five months' home detention and ordered to pay $500 reparation to the victim.
The charges relate to an incident on January 13 when Faaui was captured on CCTV footage punching the victim in Sunny's carpark in Hamilton St, Tauranga.
According to the police summary of facts, Faaui and his associate approached the victim and, as they were talking, Faaui took an unopened can of pre-mixed alcohol from the victim's hand.
When the victim tried to get his can of drink back, the defendant refused.
Faaui then stepped back slightly, placing himself in a fighting stance before closing his fist and punching the victim on the left side of his face, the court heard.
The force of the punch knocked the victim unconscious for about five minutes and his head hit the ground as he fell.
The victim suffered two intracranial haemorrhages (brain bleeds), abrasions to the inside of his mouth, swollen and split lips and a haematoma to the back of his head. He spent three days in Tauranga Hospital, complained of feeling an abnormal upper limb sensation and was unable to walk unassisted.
He was not able to drive or work for three weeks.
Faaui told police he had "no memory of that night" or assaulting anyone in Tauranga.
Police prosecutor Amy Alcock told the court a prison sentence was appropriate given the seriousness of Faaui's offending, which included his attack to the head.
Judge Cameron agreed the starting point must be imprisonment, particularly given Faaui had prior convictions last year for drink-driving and driving while disqualified.
However, Judge Cameron said he was prepared to impose five months' home detention and also ordered Faaui to pay $500 reparation for damages to the victim's cell phone.
Faaui's home detention sentence includes him having to complete an alcohol and drug abuse course and a violence prevention programme.