An Australian waiter was told by a district court judge if he was not able to behave himself in New Zealand he should "go home and be looked after by your mother''.

Joseph William Ginn, 23, appeared for sentence before Judge John Brandts-Giesen yesterday, having earlier admitted assaulting Edmond Le-Cotey with intent to injure him on July 18.

Ginn was with his girlfriend outside an eatery in Shotover St at 1.30am, having been drinking.

Le-Cotey, who was not known to Ginn, was at the same place, with a friend.

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The victim sat beside Ginn's girlfriend, struck up a conversation with her and asked how her night had been.

Ginn interjected and told him she was his girlfriend.

Judge Brandts-Giesen said Le-Cotey stood up and said something to Ginn, which the defendant took exception to and so punched him on the left side of the face.

He fell backwards on to a bench seat, got up and told Ginn he "punched like a girl''.

A verbal altercation ensued until Ginn's girlfriend intervened and pulled him away.

Defence counsel Tanya Surrey said Ginn was "extremely remorseful'' and was "absolutely devastated'' to learn of the impact on the victim.

Le-Cotey, 47, underwent surgery in Dunedin Hospital to repair three fractures to his face, which required a plate and four screws to be inserted.

He was unable to eat properly, had light sensitivity and short-term memory loss and would require further treatment.

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Judge Brandts-Giesen said Le-Cotey's life had been "substantially changed'' and while he accepted Ginn's remorse, at the time Ginn had said the victim "deserved what he got''.

"You... have to be held accountable for the harm done to the community and this victim by your offending.

"Really, what you did on this occasion was appalling.''

He said Ginn had exhibited "almost a sense of ownership'' over his girlfriend and even if there had been provocation "nothing justifies doing what you did''.

"This was appalling conduct by you ...

"If you can't behave yourself then, quite frankly, you should go home and be looked after by your mother.''

Ginn was sentenced to nine months supervision and 200 hours community work, and ordered to pay $920.92 reparation and $1000 emotional harm reparation to Le-Cotey by 4pm yesterday.