A man accused of a vicious homophobic attack on a New Zealand journalist has admitted to carrying out the unprovoked assault.
Joden Martin, 20, appeared this afternoon in the Auckland District Court and pleaded guilty to two charges of injuring with intent to injure and assault with intent to injure.
The charges followed the attack on Newshub reporter Aziz Al-Sa'afin and his friend on Karangahape Rd in February.
Judge Robert Ronayne said it was a "vicious, unprovoked" attack and the victims had been targeted because of their perceived sexual orientation.
Martin's lawyer said her client carried out the assault because he held certain "religious views".
"Prison is the starting point for this sort of behaviour," Judge Ronayne said.
Martin was convicted and remanded on bail until his sentencing in July.
After the attack, the AM Show journalist appeared on morning television and described the February 10 attack.
The assailants called him "f***" and "homos", he said.
Al-Sa'afin added he and his friend had been out with friends celebrating Pride Week.
"I thought it would be one of my safest places," Al-Sa'afin said of Karangahape Rd, an area of Auckland known for its gay bars.
They were approached by two or three men at the Mobil station, who at first made polite conversation, and then "before I knew it, my friend was on the ground getting bashed ... pulverised".
"Then as I was walking towards him, I got decked in my left eye. I got shoved back and I was still trying to make sense of the situation and as I was falling back I could just see my friend absolutely getting pulverised on the ground. Getting kicked in the stomach punched in the face. He was trying to protect (his head), he was in a fetal position," Al-Sa'afin said.
"Then another fist made contact with the right side of my jaw ... they were yelling out 'f***, homos, you're going to hell.' I lost vision and sight and I had no idea where I was. I actually thought, and I don't say this lightly, but I thought I was going to die in that moment. It was a place I don't think my mind has ever been before."