A high-profile Tauranga businessman has failed in his bid to escape criminal conviction for assaults on two men at a Queenstown bar.
Entertainment promoter Patricio Andre Alvarez-Riveros, 31, was sentenced in the District Court at Tauranga on Thursday after pleading guilty to three assault charges.
The offences related to an incident at the Winnie Bagoes bar in Queenstown on August 12 last year, where the defendant had been socialising with his wife and some friends.
When he saw his wife trying to reject the attentions of another male patron, Alvarez-Riveros walked over and pushed the man away forcefully, then got him in a headlock.
He then pushed the victim down on to to a nearby couch, got on top of him, and grabbed the victim's throat with one hand and squeezed for about 10 seconds, the court heard.
The second victim was a bar staff member, who was punched in the left side of the jaw while he was helping restrain the defendant and escort him out of the premises.
Both victims suffered minor injuries and did not need hospital treatment, the court heard.
Lawyer Craig Tuck told Judge Emma Parsons that his client accepted he over-reacted to the man's unwanted attentions and deeply regretted his actions.
Mr Tuck said the defendant was keen to participate in the restorative justice process with his victims but through no fault of his own that did not happen.
A discharge without conviction was sought for several reasons, he said.
The direct and indirect consequences of conviction which outweighed the gravity of his client offending were potentially quite damaging for the defendant, he said.
Mr Tuck said a conviction would automatically trigger the reactivation of an Immigration NZ liability deportation notice which was suspended for five years in 2015 after his client was convicted of two violent offences.
"This is a man who has brought millions of dollars into the local economy and contributed thousands to local charities," he said.
Mr Tuck said if the defendant could not travel overseas it would potentially have dire impacts on his livelihood and that of his workers.
Convictions would also have grave consequences for Alvarez-Riveros' family, he said.
Police opposed the application on the grounds that the offending was too serious, and because of the two earlier assault convictions, the court heard.
Judge Parsons said she accepted Alvarez-Riveros was genuinely remorseful but declined to discharge him saying the deportation risk was an issue for the Immigration Service.
The judge said this had been a "finely balanced" decision after taking into account all the circumstances of his offending, and the defendant's past criminal convictions.
Alvarez-Riveros would have known the consequences of a further conviction given the suspended deportation notice and a discharge was not appropriate, she said.
Judge Parsons ordered him to pay a total of $1750 emotional harm reparation to his victims, plus $390 in court costs.
Outside the court, Mr Tuck said his client was now considering his options.