An Indian hotel worker's evidence in his defence on a charge
of assaulting his girlfriend on a Queenstown street was
thrown out by Judge Kevin Phillips for being ''self-serving,
evasive and improbable'', in the Queenstown District Court
Aalambir Nijjar (22), an Indian national living in Queenstown
for the past 18 months, pleaded not guilty to the charge of
assaulting Gabriele Perez in Shotover St on July 13 at 2am.
Judge Phillips said he found the charge ''proven'' and
remanded the defendant on bail to appear on March 25, after
defence counsel Phena Byrne sought a discharge without
Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin called booking agent Michelle
Tatton, of Queenstown, as a witness. She said she and her
partner, Ross Swinton, were at Fergburger when they saw the
defendant grab the victim's upper arms and pull her forward,
causing her top to rise up, exposing her back and bra.
Mr Swinton, a car rental employee, also of Queenstown, as a
prosecution witness, said he crossed Shotover St from
Fergburger to intervene, as did another passer-by, Queenstown
bar manager Michael Hall, who also gave evidence yesterday.
Miss Tatton said she comforted Miss Perez while the two men
took hold of Nijjar.
''She had a fresh cut on her chin,'' Miss Tatton said.
She testified Nijjar told Miss Perez not to say anything in
case ''it will ruin my life''.
Arresting officer Constable Terry Wood, of Queenstown, said
on the stand he was flagged down by several people while
patrolling Shotover St.
Nijjar told Const Wood his girlfriend was going home to Peru
in a few days. She was upset ''because she is lonely and she
can't live without me'', the officer quoted the defendant as
Asked if he slapped the victim, Nijjar said he just hugged
her and denied his ''consoling'' squeezing of her cheeks hurt
Const Wood asked Nijjar if she wanted to be hugged and he
''I can do anything, she is my girlfriend.''
Nijjar denied slapping the victim on her face, grabbing her,
pulling her towards him and telling her not to say anything.
In summing up, Judge Phillips said three individuals waiting
for food saw things about which they were concerned enough to
walk across the street.
Evidence from Nijjar was ''self-serving, evasive and
The couple's argument developed to the point she was upset
and he was yelling. He pulled her shoulders and she tried to
''There can be no question of consent to the application of
force in such circumstances,'' the judge said.
He accepted the defendant intentionally slapped the victim
once and told her not to say anything.
Ms Byrne said the defendant was paying back a loan to his
family for his business education in Auckland and his work
visa was due to expire in August.
He was concerned a conviction would block his New Zealand
residency application and jeopardise his future.
Ms Byrne asked the judge to consider a discharge without
Judge Phillips said he found the charge proven and remanded
Aalambir Nijjar on bail until the next available court date.