A prominent medical professional has walked away from a year-long court battle with his clean criminal record and anonymity intact.
The 64-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where police formally withdrew the charge of assaulting a person with whom he was in a family relationship, which carries a maximum of two years in prison.
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Overnight, the defendant had completed the terms of his diversion, the court heard.
On Monday, the matter was scheduled to go to trial before a judge alone but at the 11th hour, defending counsel Chris Lynch said her client might plead guilty to a lower-level assault charge.
Judge Jim Large adjourned briefly for counsel to discuss the matter.
When he returned to the court, prosecutor Sergeant Chris George said he had spoken to the district prosecutions manager about the case.
More than a year after the charge was laid, and after multiple appearances in court, police offered the high-profile medical professional diversion.
George said that had the matter gone to trial the prosecution case would have been that the defendant had used "excessive self-defence" during the incident at the start of 2019.
The victim, who was in the courthouse on Monday, was happy with the outcome, George told the court.
The couple had broken up after the violent incident and the woman was not interested in obtaining a protection order.
Despite no suppression orders previously being imposed by the court, George requested the defendant's and victim's names be kept under wraps, to protect the woman involved.
She did not have the same surname as her ex-partner, nor were they from a small community where the case might face extra scrutiny, it was confirmed.
Judge Large asked the Otago Daily Times whether there was an intention to report on the case.
When the newspaper refused to state a definitive position, the judge said: "I'll make the decision for you."
All details leading to the identification of the parties were suppressed.
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.
Where to go for help or more information:
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz
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