Abuse of partner continued after sentencing

PHOTO: ODT FILES
PHOTO: ODT FILES
After repeatedly assaulting his partner over the course of a year, a Dunedin man has continued the abuse even after his sentencing.

This time Christopher Michael Harris' attack was psychological in nature.

The 45-year-old chef was jailed for two years on four counts of assaulting a female, one of injuring with intent to injure and one of intimidation when he appeared at the Dunedin District Court last month.

Because of the time he had spent behind bars awaiting trial, he was immediately released.

After only a couple of weeks of freedom he was back in the dock on Thursday when he pleaded guilty to breaching a protection order that had been imposed at the previous sentencing.

He was sentenced to two months' imprisonment when he appeared in court yesterday and the court heard new details of his behaviour.

On the morning of June 12, Harris posted five images on his Facebook page.

Three of them showed the victim-impact statement made by his ex-partner for his May sentencing.

"The photos clearly showed the victim's name and the majority of the [statement's] contents," police said.

"To make matters worse you then wrote some rather disparaging, unpleasant comments and added that to the post," Judge Bridget Mackintosh noted.

The woman saw the post, as did several members of her family.

Defence counsel Sarah Saunderson-Warner said Harris had no idea the documents had any particular legal status.

She said his actions were born out of recent news that the house he and the victim shared was being sold by the bank because the mortgage had not been paid.

"He was extremely frustrated by the entire situation," Ms Saunderson-Warner said.

For the victim, the judge said, it felt like a continuation of the violence she suffered at Harris' hands towards the end of their 20-year relationship.

The various episodes had featured the man shoving the woman, kicking her, spitting at her and on one occasion he bit her arm.

"It's a double whammy as far as she's concerned," Judge Mackintosh said.

Regardless of whether Harris knew what he was doing was a breach of the protection order, it was "a pretty mean, nasty thing to do", she added.

If Harris contravened the order again, the judge said, he could expect increasingly long periods behind bars.

The defendant will be subject to release conditions for another year.

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