A man accused of assaulting Paul Henry allegedly told police the television presenter was "a racist and a bigot who should expect consequences for his views".

Diego Leonardo Chavez, 34, appeared in Auckland District Court this morning facing two counts of assault against Henry during an anti-Government protest in the central city last month.

A lawyer acting on his behalf said he would plead not guilty to the charges.

In a draft police summary of facts, seen by NZME. News Service, it is alleged that Chavez was one of a large crowd of protesters who picketed Prime Minister John Key's post-Budget speech at SkyCity events centre on May 22.


The protesters, led by veteran activist Sue Bradford, made charges at the entrances but were pushed back by police, it was reported at the time.

Police faced sustained and sometimes aggressive attempts to enter the building through various entrances, which led to a number of assaults on police and SkyCity security staff, Inspector Peter Gibson said at the time.

Henry was arriving at the Federal St complex for an unrelated matter, when he was spotted by the crowd.

The draft summary alleges Henry was "jostled, jeered and sworn at", and SkyCity security were forced to intervene in an attempt to protect him. But the protesters allegedly prevented him from entering the building, crowding and jostling him.

Police stepped in, forming a physical barrier between Henry and the crowd, but as they tried to lead him away, Chavez allegedly pushed through the barrier and rushed at Henry.

The summary alleges that Chavez was "deliberately jumping towards him [Henry] and colliding with the victim, while spitting on his neck".

The encounter "caused [Henry] to stumble", the summary alleges.

Henry was not physically harmed in the altercation, but needed to find a bathroom to clean the spit off his neck, police claimed.


Chavez was arrested, and according to police he did not admit to or deny the allegations when they were put to him in an interview.

"But [he] stated the victim was a racist and a bigot, who should expect consequences from his views, and should treat the assault as a lesson," police claimed.

Chavez is due to appear in court again next month, where a Spanish language interpreter was requested to attend.