Community sentences for starting brawl

A Dunedin man who started a brawl in the Octagon by spitting at his victim and punching him unconscious has been sentenced.

Temuera Flavell (22) was ordered to complete nine months’ intensive supervision and 200 hours’ community work after admitting a charge of injuring by an unlawful act.

At 1am on December 18, 2015, Flavell was in central Dunedin with friends.

There was an "altercation" with another man.

"You walked up to the victim and spat in his face," Judge John Macdonald said.

"Admittedly, he reacted to that and advanced towards you."

But that did not justify Flavell’s violent response, he said.

The defendant punched the victim once in the face, sending him to the ground unconscious.

While that was the end of his involvement in the fracas, his mates then jumped in. They  kicked at and stomped on  the prone man’s head and body.

"If I look at your role in this I’ll accept it was much less than those who decided to attack this defenceless victim on the ground," the judge said.

"It could be said you started all this, and that should not be forgotten."

The victim sustained "extensive injuries" but it was impossible to be certain which were attributable to the defendant, he said.

The court heard another man who had beat the unconscious victim was jailed for two years, three months, while another was dealt with in the Youth Court.

One offender had not been located by police, Crown prosecutor Marie Grills said.

Counsel John Westgate said his client had been studying at Polytech  during  the court case  but had been inundated with offers of chef work.

"He’s a young man who has a great deal of potential," he said.

Judge Macdonald highlighted the impressive character references filed on behalf of the defendant and Flavell said he had not consumed alcohol since the incident.

"What you need to take from this is that any punch to another person’s head can have very serious consequences," the judge said.

Flavell, whose only previous conviction was for drink-driving in 2014, was also ordered to pay the victim $750.