A Rotorua man has escaped a prison sentence after he attacked a cyclist for riding on what he thought was a footpath near Kuirau Park.

William Wakaiti Jenner, 28, was sentenced to two months' community detention, 12 months' supervision and 75 hours' community service after he pushed a man off his bike and beat him during an argument over a shared path.

He was sentenced by Judge Tony Snell in the Rotorua District Court yesterday.

Jenner had six previous assault convictions but "just escaped a prison term" partly due to the fact that he was a hands-on father, Judge Snell said in sentencing.

Advertisement

The judge said he needed to "pull his head in" as he risked losing his children if he acted out again and ended up in jail.

The victim of the assault, a mechanic in his 50s, had been off work for months as a result of a thumb injury suffered in the attack and still feared riding to work.

About 7.30am on March 16, Jenner was walking on Ranolf St with his partner who was pushing their son in a pram near Kuirau Park, the summary of facts provided to the Rotorua Daily Post stated.

The victim gave a wide berth as he biked past the pair on the shared pedestrian and cycle path.

Jenner's partner began to verbally abuse the victim for being on the footpath, to which an argument started about it being a shared pathway.

Jenner defended his partner and then aggressively approached the victim. The victim put his arm up to defend himself and accidentally bumped Jenner, it stated.

He pushed the victim off his bike, causing the victim to dislocate his thumb as he hit the ground.

Jenner then began punching the victim in the head multiple times with a closed fist while he lay on the ground before pushing him into the bonnet of a car and fleeing through Kuirau Park.

Advertisement

The victim suffered a dislocated thumb, a black eye, several scratches, swelling to his face and a sprained ankle.

Jenner told police that the victim had assaulted him first.

He and the victim were not known to each other.