A man who knocked a teacher unconscious during an afternoon school pick-up has escaped a jail sentence.

In the Tauranga District Court this afternoon, Sheldon Tawhiti-Ormsby, 19, from Rotorua, was sentenced to 18 months of intensive supervision and judicial monitoring.

He was sentenced on charges of assault, burglary, unlawfully getting into a vehicle, and three breaches of district court bail.

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According to police, Rotorua Intermediate School teacher Alasdair Hay was at a school pick-up point about 3pm on February 27 last year.

To help alleviate a traffic jam, Hay suggested that a Toyota vehicle Tawhiti-Ormsby was a passenger in turn left on the main road rather than crossing traffic to turn right.

When they failed to do so, Hay took a photo of the vehicle on his phone, prompting the occupants to start verbally abusing him.

Tawhiti-Ormsby then got out of the vehicle and "charged" at Hay, punching him in the face and causing him to stumble and fall.

Hay blacked out for a moment and when he came around, he was on the ground trying to get up.

He suffered ongoing concussion symptoms, including headaches and difficulty concentrating, as well as reduced mobility due to a twisted ankle and a chipped bone.

Hay was off work for several months.

When police spoke to Tawhiti-Ormsby, he said he was "angry at the victim because he thought the victim was being cheeky", police reported.


Tawhiti-Ormsby was due to be sentenced on May 9 and again on October 4, but failed to turn up to court. He also breached his curfew on another occasion.

The burglary and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle charges stemmed from offending in October 2018.

Tawhiti-Ormsby's lawyer Bruce Hesketh urged Judge Christopher Harding to take into account his client was still young and was "a follower rather than a leader" in the burglary.

Hesketh said his client genuinely regretted his actions and had already spent two months in prison and would have offered to pay emotion harm reparation but had no financial means to do so.

Judge Harding said the usual sentence for burglary was a starting point of up to 18 months prison with discounts for mitigating factors, sometimes converted to home detention or community detention.

He took into account that property stolen during the burglary had been recovered.

Judge Harding said that in addition to a sentence of 18 months intensive supervision on all matters, Tawhiti-Ormsby would also be subject to judicial monitoring for that period.

If Tawhiti-Ormsby performed well nothing more would happen, otherwise an alternative sentence would need to be considered, he said.

Judge Harding urged Tawhiti-Ormsby to take full advantage of the opportunity he was being given and remain offence-free.