The victim of a king-hit who suffered a traumatic brain injury says he wants his old life back.
The man accused of the attack, 29-year-old Karim Te Moananui Kesha, appeared in the Dunedin District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to injuring by unlawful act.
The court heard how the victim had lost much of his sense of taste and smell as a result of the attack, which occurred at Dunedin's Octagon. The attack landed the victim in hospital for three days with a fractured skull, brain bleed and broken jaw.
"There is nothing you could ever say or do for me to forgive you for the pain and suffering you have caused my life," the victim said in a statement read by his sister.
"I'm so frustrated. I just want my life to be back to how it used to be."
Kesha had been drinking with friends on the night of July 26 last year.
The group ventured into town and early the following day, they were waiting for a taxi home in central Dunedin among the gathered groups.
Kesha's group believed they heard someone make a racist comment about a taxi driver and after the initial anger seemed to have subsided, he waded in.
"He didn't know [the punch] was coming," Judge Jim Large said.
"Clearly ... it was a king-hit."
The victim hit the pavement hard and was unconscious for five minutes, bleeding from a large gash in the back of his head, the court heard.
It was only to be the start of his problems.
After emergency treatment, the man had to move back in with his parents so they could care for him; he spent the next 10 days vomiting profusely, unable to remain hydrated or keep pain medication down.
When he tried to move back into his flat and return to work, he was unable to maintain concentration or energy.
"It breaks my heart to have my family put through this," he said.
"I felt like a child again."
While recovery from brain injuries was notoriously difficult to predict, the court heard a neuropsychologist considered the trauma may have been more severe than first thought.
Counsel Len Andersen said his client — in his own words — "snapped".
Kesha left in a taxi immediately after the assault, not purposely leaving his victim bleeding on the floor, he simply did not see him fall, Andersen said.
Judge Large noted this was not the first example of Kesha showing a violent side.
He had previous convictions for assaults and an aggravated robbery in 2012.
If sentenced to imprisonment or home detention, the judge said, Kesha would lose his full-time work as a furniture remover and be unable to provide financial compensation to his victim.
He imposed six months' community detention (on an 8pm-6am curfew) and 18 months' intensive supervision.
Kesha was ordered to pay the victim $7500 at $100 a week.