A former Hawke's Bay lawyer who was convicted on two charges relating to domestic assaults on a woman has been suspended from legal practise for two years.

Kris Dender admitted the charges, including one of injuring with intent to injure, in court in late 2016 and was in February last year sentenced to nine months' home detention. The more serious offence involved strangulation.

Dender and his former partner were multi-sport athletes who had trained together for many years.

As a consequence of the conviction he admitted one charge before the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal of bringing the legal profession into disrepute.


A hearing was held in Auckland in December, and the suspension, imposed in a decision later that month, was notified in the New Zealand Gazette on February 20, the starting date backdated to August 8, 2017.

The tribunal noted he had accepted full responsibility, co-operated with inquiries and stopped legal practice as soon as he was arrested in mid-2016, and accepted he was taking appropriate steps to deal with domestic violence issues.

It stated there was no dispute that it was serious criminal conduct "of the sort which
inevitably brings the profession into disrepute.

"As a matter of record, Mr Dender's arrest attracted media interest and his profession as a lawyer was highlighted in the reports. The seriousness of the offending was, of course, dealt with in the criminal proceedings and a significant penalty imposed."

Dender was censured and ordered to pay Law Society costs of almost $6500.

He graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts. He completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Communications and Public Relations in 2010 and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 2014