A Dunedin teen sent to prison for a brutal assault was warned
to stop his violent behaviour or risk his child growing up to
see him behind bars.
Phillip Joseph (19) acknowledged supporters in the public
gallery after being sentenced to four years' imprisonment by
Judge Michael Crosbie in the Dunedin District Court
On Sunday, April 27, two intoxicated people were walking in
the Octagon, yelling at passing cars and pedestrians, when
Joseph - who had earlier been at a family dinner - took
exception to their behaviour.
He called out to one of the men before punching him in the
face, and then traded blows with the other. Joseph then
returned to the car parked in the upper Octagon, followed by
the second victim.
As one of the vehicle occupants tried to persuade the second
victim to leave the scene, Joseph left the car, carrying a
full stubbie beer bottle, and from a distance of 2m, hurled
it into the face of the victim.
Joseph and his party then fled. The victim, who remained
conscious, was taken to the police station but began to pass
out and vomit blood.
He suffered a depressed fracture of the skull, with fractures
extending to the eye sockets, and was discharged from Dunedin
Hospital the following month.
Judge Crosbie said the assault had deeply affected the
victim, who still required ongoing treatment for his
Despite Joseph's young age, it was also important to protect
the community from a violent offender.
He noted that Joseph had already been involved in an incident
while a remand prisoner and was at risk of reoffending. His
behaviour needed to improve or he faced a future behind bars.
Joseph had been exposed to gangs, violence, drug and alcohol
abuse, and was ''so used to it that it is part of your
He wanted to be a good partner and parent and was told by
Judge Crosbie to change so ''your own child does not grow up
to know you behind bars''.
He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment on a charge of
causing grievous bodily harm, nine months for assaulting a
female, six months for assault and a month for breaching
community work, the terms to be served concurrently.