A Dobson man whose drunken expletive-laden rant in Reefton
included headbutting a window and abusing pensioners walking
down the street, has been ordered to make a public apology to
the entire Reefton community.
Thomas Francis Gillee O'Brien, 20, must publish an open
letter of apology in the Reefton Clarion newsletter.
He also has to pay $1000 reparation and deliver a trailer
load of rata to one of his victims.
The punishment was thrashed out at a restorative justice
conference and agreed to in the Greymouth District Court on
Friday after O'Brien admitted charges of disorderly
behaviour, wilful damage and assault.
About noon on December 30, O'Brien was a passenger in a ute
that was half-parked on the footpath outside the Reef Cottage
Cafe on Broadway. Several people, including children, were in
the cafe and on the street.
One of three men in the ute, O'Brien got out and immediately
began abusing people. When an elderly couple walked by he
swore at them and told them to "get off the footpath."
Then, when a woman who was inside cleaning a window in a
nearby business yelled that he should stop abusing people and
leave the town, O'Brien said: "Shut your mouth you gabby
tooth sl**", and "I'll have you."
He then headbutted the window, breaking it.
A man who heard the commotion came out to remonstrate with
O'Brien and was also abused. He then ran at the local man and
thrust the heel of his left hand into the jaw of his victim
before his associates urged him to get into the vehicle and
they drove off.
O'Brien told police he recalled headbutting the window but
denied the abusive language, saying that he would never talk
like that. He also denied the assault but accepted that he
might have staggered into the man because of his state of
It only cost $110 to repair the window but O'Brien agreed to
pay $1000 because the building owner was unable to get it
fixed over the long New Year's weekend, and was therefore
unable to rent it out for a week.
- by the Greymouth Star