A man has gone on trial accused of repeatedly elbowing his
partner in the back when she wouldn't stop coughing in bed.
Matthew Crann, of Red Beach, north of Auckland, denies a
charge of assaulting his former partner, Elizabeth Currie.
The case began before a jury in Manukau District Court this
The Crown alleges Mr Crann elbowed Ms Currie several times in
the back while they lay in bed on the morning of August 26,
Crown prosecutor Carl Mcdiarmid said Ms Currie had the flu
and when she kept coughing, Mr Crann became angry and shouted
at her before elbowing her repeatedly.
Mr Mcdiarmid told the jury an assault was to touch someone
intentionally without their consent, and didn't need to be
hard or cause an injury.
"That's really the only question that you need to ask
yourselves: Did the defendant strike Ms Currie?"
Ms Currie, a self-employed horse trainer, told the court she
had been in a relationship with Mr Crann for two and a half
years and had lived with him at their Clevedon house for
about a year.
She woke up on August 26 feeling sick and was coughing.
"Instead of being consoled by Matt I was told to 'shut the
f*** up' and if I was going to continue to cough and make
that noise at that time of the morning I should get the f***
out of the room."
Ms Currie said she began to cry, and Mr Crann then elbowed
her five or six times in her spine as she lay on her side.
The blows were hard enough to "knock the wind out of me".
She said Mr Crann left the house soon afterwards, and when
she returned later from making a statement to police, she
found him loading belongings into a trailer.
Defence lawyer Russell Fairbrother QC said the incident never
The defendant was a decent, hardworking man, who had a clean
record save for a minor driving conviction, he said.
Mr Fairbrother raised contradictions in evidence over when
the first police statement was taken, whether Ms Currie was
struck hard enough to push her out of bed, and whether she
was elbowed or punched.
Mr Crann told the court the relationship had broken down and
he had planned to move out of their home on August 26.
Ms Currie had "a little bit of a cold" that morning but was
sitting up in bed with her back against a pillow when he woke
about 6am, he said.
He was not angry, but had become annoyed when Ms Currie
"hounded" him about where he was going, and accepted he may
have told her to shut up.
But he said he left the house for a 7am appointment without
incident, and returned later to pack up some personal
Mr Crann denied elbowing her or hitting her on any occasion.
The trial continues.