A man who shoved a High Court judge to the ground during a road rage incident, causing her to break her wrist has failed in a bid to escape a conviction.

And further details have emerged about how he tried to run away after pushing his victim to the ground, causing four breaks to her wrist.

James Lawrence Beaumont Gilliland was charged with injuring Justice Mary Peters "with reckless disregard for the safety of others" following an altercation in Auckland in May.

Justice Peters sits in the High Court at Auckland.


Gilliland - a 29-year-old computer programmer - pleaded guilty to the charge and when he appeared in the Auckland District Court last week, applied for a discharge without conviction.

Yesterday Judge June Jelas delivered her decision on the application, which had been reserved.

She has denied the application and revealed further details about the offending including the fact Gilliland tried to run away after pushing Justice Peters.

"After pushing the victim, Mr Gilliland fled along Ponsonby Rd," she said.

"He did not get far, being stopped by a member of the public who pursued and restrained him."

She said Justice Peters' wrist was broken in four places which was a "serious" injury.

"Her wrist was in a cast for just over four weeks and had various splints of one form or
another for another four weeks," she said.

"The victim is right-handed and was unable to attend to everyday personal tasks and activities and was significantly hampered at work.

"Considerable burden resulted for those who support the victim in her work.

"The breaks have now healed but she still suffers a level of discomfort from time to time and is unlikely to regain full strength and mobility in her wrist.

"The offending has affected her greatly."

Gilliland will be sentenced on November 30.

James Lawrence Beaumont Gilliland, 29, in the dock at the Auckland District Court. Photo / Brett Phibbs
James Lawrence Beaumont Gilliland, 29, in the dock at the Auckland District Court. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Last week the court heard that on May 9, Gilliland was walking on Ponsonby Rd and was
approaching Picton St.

Justice Peters pulled her car around the corner and Gilliland believed she was not going to stop and the pedestrians crossing the street were in danger.

Gilliland kicked Justice Peters' car and she got out to inspect it for damage.

"A moment later, the victim and the defendant came to be face-to-face," said Judge Jelas.

"Mr Gilliland then placed both his hands on the victim's shoulders and pushed her over.

"Due to the force of the push, the victim fell backwards onto the concrete footpath.

"She placed her hand out behind her to break her fall, resulting in her wrist breaking."

Judge Jelas said there was absolutely no evidence that Justice Peters had done anything to provoke the attack.

"There is no suggestion ... that, at any stage, the victim drove her vehicle in a manner that breached any road rule," she said in her decision.

"Neither is there a suggestion that any pedestrian was in danger or that any pedestrian was concerned by the victim's acts.

"The Court cannot lose sight of the fact that at the time of the offence, the victim
was not driving her car, there had been no driver error, she had provided a reasonable
explanation to Mr Gilliland for why she had driven her vehicle forward and Mr Gilliland's response was to push the victim to the ground.

"His actions were entirely unprovoked."

Gilliland admitted the charge of assaulting Justice Peters but his lawyer Marie Dyhrberg QC submitted that a conviction would impact on his employment and travel prospects in

Dyhrberg said there was "no obvious intent to injure" Justice Peters, but Gilliland accepted there was "no justification" for lashing out.

She told the court that he had been knocked off his bike by a car in an earlier and unrelated incident and due to the trauma of that, he was "sensitised to traffic".

Dyhrberg argued that the consequence of a conviction was "disproportionate" to the force applied.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey opposed the application and said a conviction was appropriate for the "serious" offending.

He said the offending was serious and pointed out to the court that in other cases where people have been pushed, their injuries have been severe or fatal.

Judge Jelas ruled the offending was "moderately serious".

"This was an unprovoked aggressive response resulting in a serious injury to the victim," she said

"In my view, the consequences of the offending are not disproportionate to the
gravity of the offending," she said.

Justice Peters has declined to comment on the incident.