A man who punched his partner repeatedly in the chest as she lay in bed is trying to have his assault conviction overturned because he wants to become a youth social worker.

The 34-year-old, who has interim name suppression, was earlier convicted of assault on a person in a family relationship for the late March attack.

According to the summary of facts, the couple were at their Blenheim home when, in conversation, "the defendant took offence to the views of the victim in relation to a male he had previously had an altercation with".

He became aggressive and verbally abusive towards her, and she punched him in self defence before fleeing to a neighbour's house, asking them to call police.


The neighbours came with the victim back to the house to confront the man.

"The defendant commenced a physical altercation with these persons while the victim went to her bedroom and attempted to go to sleep," the summary said.

It is unclear what occurred during this physical altercation, but directly afterwards the man came into the bedroom and confronted his partner, approaching her while she lay in bed and punched her hard in the torso about eight times with a closed fist.

At the first opportunity the victim fled the room and ran to a sleepout, where another occupant called police.

She suffered from chest soreness and had minor breathing difficulties after the attack.

When initially spoken to be police, the man denied all allegations.

Despite this, upon appearing in court he made an early guilty plea and engaged in restorative justice.

At a hearing in the High Court at Wellington this morning, the man's lawyer, Laurie Murdoch, argued he should not have received a conviction for the offending as he was trying to become a social worker and wanted to work with youths.


Murdoch, who appeared by audio visual link, said the sentencing judge was wrong to assess the gravity of the offending as "high".

She said there was "no lasting injury" and the man had taken "significant" steps to make up for the offending. The victim also supported him.

While he has previous convictions for assault, these were from more than 10 years ago, and the judge failed to weigh up the impact new family violence convictions would have on his ability to go into the career he wanted, she said.

"This recent conviction would be a real stumbling block for him in terms of getting work with youth."

She also argued he should be given permanent name suppression because publicity would prevent him from getting his "foot in the door" for job interviews. His childhood trauma and mental health issues also meant naming him could cause extreme hardship, she said.

The lawyer for the police said such consequences were "proportionate to the seriousness of the offending" and were ordinary consequences for someone to face.

She said an employer should know about such convictions and people doing social work jobs needed to be "a fit and proper person" as they worked with vulnerable people.

The judge has reserved his decision.