Limitless Hope co-founder Kevin Swannell has been sentenced to nine months' probationary supervision after pleading guilty to one charge of intimidation.
The 43-year-old engineer, an established advocate for the region's homeless, appeared before Judge Tony Adeane in the Napier District Court for a judge-alone trial today after pleading not guilty to assault and threatening to kill in January.
He was accused of threatening to kill his wife and charity co-founder Kiri Swannell on Boxing Day last year and then assaulting her using a running chainsaw as a weapon.
His judge-alone trial went ahead this morning but came to an end when, after a break in Mrs Swannell's evidence, it was revealed police were withdrawing the assault charge and amending the threatening to kill charge to the lesser offence of intimidation, to which the defendant pleaded guilty too.
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Judge Adeane said Swannell had become "emotionally overwrought and upset" and started the chainsaw, giving his wife cause for concern which was all that was needed to prove the intimidation charge.
He sentenced him to nine months' probationary supervision and directed him to complete any programme as directed.
The Swannells had been married for 25 years and had six children together.
They spearheaded homeless charity Limitless Hope and had since 2013 been vocal at public rallies and throughout the media about those sleeping rough in Hawke's Bay.
In June 2015 Limitless Hope was pledged a total $66,071.60 through a Givealittle appeal to build an emergency shelter for the prevention of homelessness in the region.
A two-storey building was donated to the cause by Property Brokers but the shelter proposal fizzled as it was said to have presented too many road blocks.