A Dunedin gym owner who broke a man's jaw in a bar fight has walked away without a conviction after police gave him diversion.

Timothy Azad Medlicott, 27, was originally charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injure following the incident in an Octagon bar in the early hours of July 18 last year.

The owner and head coach of Crossfit Dunedin pleaded guilty when it was downgraded to injuring by an unlawful act - a charge carrying a three-year maximum jail term.

His counsel, Anne Stevens QC, indicated Medlicott would be applying for a discharge without conviction when he was sentenced in January.

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But three days before that hearing the Dunedin District Court was informed he had completed diversion and police had withdrawn the charge.

Only two people in New Zealand in a three-year span were diverted for that offence, according to figures released to the ODT under the Official Information Act.

Among other charges carrying an equal maximum penalty - assault with intent to injure and aggravated assault - there were 32 cases in the same timeframe which resulted in diversion.

"The description of the offence and the maximum penalty when looked at in isolation do appear serious ... However, the actions of the offender need to be considered in context to ascertain whether the circumstances of the case make it too serious for diversion,'' Otago coastal area commander Inspector Matenga Gray said.

"Police carefully considered the incident, including the context of the offence and the views of the victim.''

The victim said Medlicott wrote him a letter of apology and paid him "a couple of grand''.

He told the ODT he agreed to diversion at the time "to get it over and done with'' but recently he had felt uncomfortable about his attacker walking away with no conviction.

"It was pretty bulls***.''

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The victim said his jaw had been broken in two places but he had to return to work just days after surgery because he was self-employed.

His hospital stay also meant he was unable to see his newborn daughter for several days.

Medlicott was in the smoking area of the central Dunedin bar when an argument broke out between his friend and the victim.

The man was pulled inside the bar by his mates but Medlicott's group followed.

The verbal spat resumed.

The defendant made a comment and when the victim turned to face him, he punched him with his right fist, dropping the man to his knees.

Mrs Stevens said CCTV footage of the incident made it clear that the victim was the agitator.

Her client threw the punch, she said, only because he believed he was about to be struck.

Medlicott was now undertaking a six-month Stopping Violence programme.

The police diversion scheme allows mostly first-time offenders to avoid conviction for minor offences.

Until recently, the police website said some offences, including serious violence, would not be considered.

However, their stance has been updated in the past few weeks: "There will be cases when the legal description of the offence, or the maximum penalty for the offence, may appear serious but when the offence is in context of the facts it is not."