An Arrowtown resident who, yesterday, in the Queenstown
District Court, admitted a charge of injuring with intent,
will be sentenced next month, with a starting point of two
years' imprisonment possible.
Michael Allan Rapson (27), chef, initially denied injuring
Matthew Coley with intent on March 18 in Arrowtown.
However, after seeking a sentencing indication from Judge
John Strettell in the Queenstown District Court yesterday,
defence counsel Sonia Vidal said Rapson wished to change his
earlier plea and admit the charge.
Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said Mr Coley had been
drinking at the New Orleans in Arrowtown about 11.50pm on
Also at the bar were Rapson and an associate.
Mr Coley was asked to leave due to his behaviour.
''The defendant put him in a full nelson [a type of grappling
hold] and walked him towards the door ...''
Rapson's associate then put Mr Coley in a headlock and
dragged him backwards towards the front door. Rapson punched
him once to the chin while he was being dragged.
Outside, his associate wrestled Mr Coley to the ground.
Rapson followed and a scuffle ensued until they were
separated by passers-by.
Rapson walked towards the Village Green.
Mr Coley returned to the New Orleans, waited about five
minutes and then began his walk home along Buckingham St,
towards the Night'n Day.
Sgt Collin said Mr Coley encountered Rapson, who struck a
''fighting stance'' again outside the dairy.
Rapson ''raced at him, leaping into the air, kicking out''
but fell short of Mr Coley.
He got up and traded blows with the victim, who fell to the
''[Rapson] punched him about the head several times while he
was on the ground; the victim attempted to protect himself
from the blows.
''The victim returned to his feet, retreating down Buckingham
St. He was followed on either side by the defendant and [his
Sgt Collin said Rapson's associate approached Mr Coley,
punching him in the head, while Rapson kicked the victim on
his left knee.
Mr Coley, unable to put weight on his left leg, was then
knocked to the ground and punched about the head and body by
Rapson as he lay prone.
A member of the public intervened and was punched by Rapson.
Rapson and his associate walked away, leaving Mr Coley
motionless on the ground.
He was taken to the New Orleans, then to Lakes District
Hospital, and later transferred to Southland Hospital for
surgery to a broken left tibia.
He also suffered swelling, bruising and tenderness. The
injury to his leg required a brace and crutches and he was
unable to work for six weeks.
Rapson had been identified by CCTV footage, Sgt Collin said.
Judge Strettell remanded Rapson on bail to December 16 for
sentencing and ordered a pre-sentence report to address home
detention and other community-based sentences, but said that
was no indication of the likely outcome.