A man took his partner's phone, swore at her, then grabbed her jaw and squeezed it during an argument on Christmas Eve last year.

James Russell Dowdle then leaned down towards his partner of two years and spat in her face in the presence of their four-month-old son.

The victim stood up and began to walk out of the room when Dowdle kicked her in the back of her right knee.

Dowdle pleaded guilty to assault on a person in a family relationship and was sentenced in Whanganui District Court on Monday.

Advertisement

.

The summary doesn't really set out the circumstances of the offending. A close friend of Mr Dowdle's had committed suicide a few days before this happened.

.

His lawyer Mark McGee said that