A man who attacked his pregnant partner after claiming the baby was not his has been jailed for 22 months.

Christopher Ngarepo Te Haupai Ruri, 29, appeared in the Dunedin District Court recently after pleading guilty to assault with intent to injure and breaching release conditions.

After a 12-hour drinking binge, Ruri went to the victim's Mosgiel home.

He claimed the child, with whom the woman was four months' pregnant, was not his and began hitting her ''with limited force'' around the head and upper body.

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The victim curled into the foetal position to protect her unborn baby.

Ruri, the court heard, responded by walking from the bed to the hallway and challenging his partner to a fight.

Worrying she would further aggravate him by remaining where she was, the woman joined the defendant.

''The defendant kicked the victim three times with a round-house kick to her right lower thigh area,'' a police summary said.

''The third kick struck the victim with such force that it caused the victim to fall to the ground in pain.''

As she lay there, Ruri said he would kill the unborn child.

When his partner got up and made for the kitchen, the defendant punched her in the face, sending her again to the floor and rendering her unconscious.

Later, Ruri told officers ''he just snapped''.

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A week after the May 16 assault, the defendant tested positive for drugs, a breach of the release conditions he was subject to after a stint behind bars.

Judge Michael Crosbie said the violence was the latest in a criminal record peppered with similar events.

Despite being left swollen and bruised, Ruri's pregnant partner was in court to support him yesterday and had sat down with him for a restorative justice session last month.

The defendant said he had been ''angry'' at the time of the attack and blamed some of his mental anguish on the victim.

He apologised though, showed her some drawings he had done while incarcerated and she accepted his apology, the court heard.

The woman, who said the drunken beating had ''frightened'' her, wanted Ruri to get help for his various issues and was committed to their relationship, Judge Crosbie said.

Probation assessed the defendant as being at a high risk of reoffending, particularly against women with whom he was in a relationship.

''It's going to be rather a hard pattern to break,'' the judge said.