Ex-Mana Party candidate admits drug, assault charges

Former Mana Party candidate and Green Party member Grant Rogers has admitted assaulting his former partner and possessing cannabis.

Rogers, 48, appeared in the Rotorua District Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to assaulting his former partner on October 4 and a charge each of possession of cannabis and possession of a cannabis pipe. Judge James Weir sentenced Rogers to 75 hours' community work.

According to the police summary of facts, the pair were at Rogers' Konene St property on October 4. At about 2am they started arguing and the woman said she wanted to leave.

As the 22-year-old attempted to leave, Rogers pushed her with his right hand causing her to fall on to the couch. She stood and tried to leave and Rogers grabbed her by the arms and pushed her out of the door.

The complainant walked through a reserve and on to Corlett St. Rogers ran after her and when he caught up with her they started arguing. Rogers grabbed her collar with both hands, lifted her off her feet and threw her to the ground.

She hit her head on the the ground causing her to bite her lip. The woman managed to get to her feet and ran along Old Taupo Rd where she was seen by police who spoke to her.

Police went to Rogers' house and while they were talking with him they could smell cannabis.

Police searched the property and found a gram of cannabis in a tin and a cannabis pipe shaped as a rock.

As a result of the assault the woman suffered soreness to her face and chin.

Rogers told police he pushed the complainant for her own safety as she wanted to walk to town and he feared she would get raped.

Rogers admitted the cannabis and pipe were his.

Rogers' lawyer, Aroha Cooper, said the victim wanted to go and get them more alcohol. She was scantily dressed and Rogers feared for her safety. When police smelt the cannabis, Rogers showed them where it was.

Rogers told the court he worked as volunteer at Linton Park Community Centre.

Judge Weir said Rogers had a history of cannabis use and a minor assault but they went back some time.

Rogers was the candidate for the Mana Party in the Rotorua seat last year and got 445 votes. He was the local candidate for the Residents Action Movement (RAM) party during the 2008 elections.

He is also a former Green Party member and was that party's Rotorua branch co-convener in 2006. He also stood unsuccessfully for the Rotorua District Council in the then west ward in 2007.

- By Abigail Hartevelt of The Daily Post

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