A Whangarei woman who assaulted a woman who was pregnant by her husband has been discharged without conviction, with the sentencing judge saying a conviction would far outweigh the gravity of the offending and would rob the community and the education system of a good teacher.
Terynne Whitney Mills-Barber Dunn, 28, was up for sentencing in Whangarei District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge of assault on a woman.
Dunn admitted kicking a woman who was pregnant by her estranged husband Warren Dunn twice in the face at a junior rugby match.
The violence erupted when Dunn was talking to Mr Dunn, and the pair was joined by the woman Mr Dunn had made pregnant. The woman was 14 weeks pregnant at the time.
Dunn was charged with injuring with intent to injure and an alternative charge of assault with intent to injure, at Kensington Park on May 11, 2013, but those charges were amended during the first day of her trial and Dunn then admitted a charge of common assault.
Yesterday Judge Duncan Harvey said the violence inflicted on the woman was serious and while it was a "close thing" he decided to discharge Dunn without conviction.
Judge Harvey said he had looked at the defence application for a discharge without conviction very carefully, but because of the background to the offending he was satisfied that a conviction would be out of all proportion to the offending.
The judge said Dunn and the other woman were effectively involved in a cat fight or melee, but he did not believe that the assault was premeditated and that Dunn reacted when confronted by the other woman at the game. It was possible that both women were enraged and it would not be human for Dunn not to react to the situation she was in, he said.
Judge Harvey said letters of support for Dunn showed she was a good teacher and there was a real and appreciable risk that a conviction would end her career.
"She's spoken about in glowing terms as a dedicated person and person of integrity and clearly our education system needs people such as her."
Judge Harvey said Dunn had no previous convictions and he was sure that she was not a violent person by nature.
He said she was a valuable member of the community and had it not been for the background circumstances - including her husband having an affair and the other woman pregnant - she would not have reacted in this way.
Judge Harvey also ordered Dunn to pay $500 to Women's Refuge to show that violence, particularly domestic violence, was not acceptable.