One of two Americans on a cycle tour of New Zealand was convicted in Masterton District Court last week of assaulting the other one on the banks of the Hutt River.

Anthony Joseph Policano, 35, pleaded guilty to two charges of male assaults female.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Tom Andrews said Policano and the victim were "US citizens undergoing a bike tour throughout New Zealand".

At about 11pm on Thursday, April 14, the pair were staying at a house in Lower Hutt and got involved in an argument, which intensified before Policano punched the woman in the face and body.


The following day the pair were walking along the stopbank of the Hutt River and Policano told the woman that if she didn't stop following him, he would throw her bike into the river. He then threw a bike and a bag into the river and punched her once in the face and kicked her in the shins. Players on a nearby golf course saw the events and phoned police.

Policano told them her face was scratched because he punched her "once in the helmet while she was wearing it".

Defence lawyer James Elliot said Policano had obtained a non-violence order against the victim, from a magistrate in Victoria, Australia -- for which he had needed to prove she had been violent towards him.

He described the situation as a "fairly toxic, ongoing relationship" and said Policano "had been attempting to distance himself from the relationship" before these events, and had now done so.

Mr Elliot said Policano was now staying with a couple in Masterton, "people who are well regarded in the community" -- who were supporting him.

Policano is due to fly out of New Zealand in May on the next leg of a cycling world trip, Mr Elliot said. "He understands he will be convicted and he understands he will need to declare that as he goes through various places including in Asia, and on his return to the US."

Judge Tony Walsh told Policano: "I appreciate there is another side to the story ... but the court must get across to the community that violence is unacceptable." The judge convicted Policano and ordered him to pay on each charge a $200 fine, $130 court costs and $250 in emotional harm reparation.