A Whangārei man who hit another man in the head with his motorcycle helmet after not being happy with the service at a pizza restaurant has been sentenced to community work.
Matthew Darville Hudson, 43, appeared in Whangārei District Court on Tuesday for sentencing after earlier pleading guilty to a charge of injuring a person where if death occurred it would have been manslaughter.
The police summary of facts said Hudson was at Marina Pizza Bar and Grill in Tutukaka with his daughter on September 1, last year.
He arrived on a motorcycle and ordered a pizza. Annoyed, Hudson later approached the bar complaining to staff about the wait time for his food, using explicit language.
Staff presented at Hudson's table soon after with a pizza on a pizza paddle. The summary said he continued to argue with the staff before knocking the pizza out of a staff member's hand.
Still annoyed, Hudson went to leave, but was stopped by two of the restaurant's patrons.
As Hudson went to his motorbike one of the patrons was trying to speak to him about the incident while the other patron tried to restrain him by holding his arm.
In frustration Hudson swung the motorcycle helmet he was holding, striking one of the men on the right side of the head. He injured the man in such circumstances that if death had been caused Hudson would have been guilty of manslaughter.
The victim sustained a slight fracture to the right side of his face.
Hudson admitted to police that he hit the man in the head with his helmet, and in explanation said he just wanted to go but they were right in his face and one of them grabbed his arm, ''and I lashed out''.
This was Hudson's first offence.
Judge Greg Davis said Hudson was suitable for an electronically-based sentence such as community detention or home detention, but unfortunately his home address was outside the coverage area for the technology used for monitoring bracelets for such sentences. As a result the judge said community work, coupled with supervision, would be suitable punishment.
The judge said it was clear that Hudson had a bee in his bonnet over what he perceived as poor service and it looks as if he had been brassed off for a longer period of time than the summary of facts indicates.
''He believes he has been poorly treated by the staff and leaves in a huff, then when restrained by a patron lashes out.''
Judge Davis said there was obviously some inappropriate behaviour from Hudson in the pizza restaurant or the other patrons would not have got involved.
"You cracked somebody with your helmet to the side of the face with enough force that it fractured a bone.''
He said Hudson had suffered a head injury from an earlier motorcycle accident and he was not sure if that had played any part in his actions that day. Regardless, the judge said, there was no excuse for his behaviour, especially in front of his daughter.
Judge Davis sentenced Hudson to 200 hours' community work and nine months' supervision, with one condition being that he attend a Man Alive anti-violence course.