Justin Marshall sustained cuts and severe bruising in the
Queenstown attack in April. Picture: NZ Herald
Former All Black Justin Marshall curled up into a ball as
he was punched, kicked and stomped on during a street attack in
Queenstown, a court heard yesterday.
Tai Samuel Neilson, 25, admitted a charge of assault with
intent to injure and yesterday in the Christchurch District
Court narrowly avoided jail, with a sentence of five months'
The attack happened on Shotover St in the early hours of Good
Friday this year.
Police told the court Marshall, an 81-test halfback, was
pushed to the ground and repeatedly punched, kicked and
stomped on. The New Zealand Herald columnist and Sky Sports
commentator curled up to protect himself from the blows.
Neilson twice jumped in the air and landed on Marshall with
Marshall suffered bad bruising to the back, head and body, as
well as cuts.
Defence counsel Josh Lucas said Neilson drank alcohol only on
"very rare occasions" and that night was one of those.
Neilson's actions were borne out of drunkenness, "bad peer
influences and violent tendencies", the lawyer said. He had
"out of misguided loyalty tried to help out his friend".
Neilson, who now worked fulltime at a minerals firm, accepted
what he did was "disgraceful, idiotic", no matter who the
victim was, Mr Lucas said.
Judge Tony Couch said Neilson had an extensive criminal
history for serious driving offences, but none for violence.
He was especially concerned Neilson had jumped on Marshall as
he lay on the ground, but the judge accepted Neilson had
shown "a measure of remorse", and had expressed wishes to
have a restorative justice meeting with the former sportsman.
Neilson's co-accused, Adam Kearns, 23, has pleaded not guilty
and elected trial by jury in Invercargill.