A man left fighting for his life after an assault in a
central Auckland bar was felled with a single punch he didn't
see coming, say staff who witnessed the unprovoked attack.
Karan Pant, 25, was seriously injured in the assault inside
Cassette Nine on Vulcan Lane at 3.20am last Thursday.
The attack follows a string of similar incidents across the
Tasman, provoking a public outcry there, and comes in the
wake of a fatal king-hit attack in downtown Auckland last
Cassette Nine general manager Ruairi Hatrick said last week's
attack came without warning.
"You could not have seen anything like this coming. It was
fairly quiet in the club just past 3am, and we were about to
"The victim was talking to a friend and out of nowhere
another man took two steps forward and threw a punch,
knocking the victim to the floor.
"This was completely unprovoked. No reason whatsoever," Mr
The alleged assailant was not a regular at Cassette and was
not known to staff.
"We have had nothing like this happen before."
Mr Pant's condition has improved and he is now stable in
Auckland City Hospital.
He graduated from the Cornell Institute of Business and
Technology - which caters for international students - last
The principal described him as a good student.
"We are saddened by the news that he has been assaulted, "
Associate Professor Paul Sutcliffe said.
Napier man Mathew Paul Papa, 22, appeared in court last week
charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm over the
His name suppression lapsed on Monday.
The assault followed the death of 25-year-old trainee primary
school teacher Tarun Asthana last November. He suffered a
serious head injury when felled by a single punch at
Naval rating Grenville McFarland, 27, has been charged with
More recently, New Zealander Alex McEwen, 19, was king-hit
outside a McDonald's restaurant in Sydney last month. He
suffered head and spinal injuries in the attack.
His assault was one of a raft of serious and fatal assaults,
including the death of teenager Daniel Christie, which
resulted in 'one punch' laws being beefed up across
New South Wales is introducing mandatory jail sentences of at
least eight years for the deadly one-punch assaults.
Mr Pant's assault prompted Auckland police to say at the
time: "Once again, as if any further proof was needed, this
event shows nothing good happens in the city after 3am".
But the Hospitality Association's Auckland branch president
Kevin Schwass said last week the assault should not put
people off going into the city.
"The fact an assault happened on premise, you can't say that
the city is dangerous. On the contrary."
Auckland is gearing up for one of its biggest weekends since
the 2011 Rugby World Cup and organisers say they will not
tolerate any booze-fuelled bad behaviour.
The city will be full of visitors from around the country and
overseas as Auckland hosts the NRL Auckland Nines, rapper
Eminem's concert and the annual Lantern Festival this
Nines organisers have indicated they will take a hard line on
excessive alcohol consumption.
Alcohol sales won't begin until midday at the tournament,
beer and RTDs will have a maximum alcohol content of 4 per
cent and there will be a limit of four serves per person,
decreasing to two per person after 2.30pm.
The Wellington Sevens came under fire from police at the
weekend for the amount of alcohol that was available at
Westpac Stadium, which saw 20 people arrested and 300 evicted
from the stadium over the two-day event.
King hit victims:
* December 2013: British professional cyclist Matt Cronshaw
suffered a broken eye socket after an unprovoked late-night
assault where a stranger took exception to his T-shirt.
* November 2013: Tarun Asthana died after he hit his head
when felled by a single punch in central Auckland.
* June 2011: Auckland man Trevor Kaukau received serious
brain injuries when he was hit once, fell backwards and
struck his head on Karangahape Rd.
* August 2011: Hutt Valley man Felipo Sipaia died after he
was punched in the head during a confrontation. He fell, hit
his head and never regained consciousness.
* October 2011: Billy Dawson, 34, died in hospital from
severe head injuries after being punched once in the face
outside a bar in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour. Kit Murray was
later sentenced to five years' jail for manslaughter.
- Brendan Manning of APNZ