Three prominent Auckland businessmen have avoided conviction and been granted permanent name suppression after attacking a neighbour.
The men appeared in Auckland District Court this afternoon after each earlier admitting a charge of common assault.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail but the men walked away without penalty, aside from each having to pay the victim $1500.
The court heard the trio ran a successful business, which was jeopardised after details of the allegations emerged.
Judge Grant Fraser said the men had to engage in a "significant public relations exercise" and there was evidence that those efforts would have to escalate with publicity about their identities.
Stuart Grieve, QC, defence counsel for two of the men, placed references before the court from a member of the clergy who spoke of their integrity, and from a charity which attested to their stellar fundraising efforts.
He gave details of a "confidential business plan" which may require the defendants to travel overseas to explore untapped markets.
The impact on celebrities linked to the defendants would also be serious, Mr Grieve said.
A conviction would heavily restrict their business growth and that consequence was disproportionate to the gravity of the offending, he argued.
Judge Fraser agreed and granted applications to have the men discharged without conviction and to have their identities suppressed.
The partner of the victim was so exasperated she left the courtroom. Her mother sat open-mouthed.
The incident took place in one of Auckland's most salubrious suburbs three years ago.
Judge Fraser refused to read the summary of facts -- a practice usually followed at sentencing -- but the court heard the assault followed a verbal dispute about noise.
The men believed their victim was armed and used "self-defence" to try to disarm him, the court heard.
Mr Grieve accepted his clients used excessive force but said their offending was "understandable in the circumstances".
The victim suffered injuries to his head and arm. The judge said it was "no doubt a terrifying and harrowing event" for the man assaulted.