Level of offending ‘out of character’ — judge

A Milton man spat chewed-up chocolate balls at his partner after breaking two of her fingers, a court has heard.

Craig Allan Taylor (40) was sentenced to three months’ community detention, 120 hours’ community work and nine months’ supervision when he appeared at the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

He was given a first-strike warning under the three-strikes regime when he pleaded guilty to wounding his former partner with reckless disregard.

In December last year, the pair had argued over finances and Taylor had thrown an ornamental bottle at the ground near her, causing a shard to slice open a 7cm gash in her left leg.

However, he denied other allegations that he had abused the woman in February.

Taylor was found guilty of injuring with reckless disregard and assault after a judge-alone trial, which painted a picture of their volatile relationship.

When the woman came home from visiting a friend, Taylor was in bed watching television.

The pair, who had been sleeping apart, argued about the bedding arrangements that night.

When she refused to leave the bed, Taylor flipped her off the mattress on to the floor.

With the mattress covering her, she told the court, her then partner began "bouncing" on it.

"He bent my fingers right back and they broke," the woman said.

"If it wasn’t my fingers it would’ve been my face."

After she slept on a couch with her broken fingers, the pair clashed again the following morning. There was some dispute about what happened but the victim admitted she may have tried to eye gouge the defendant before aiming punches at his face.

It was agreed that he had spat at her.Taylor had been eating mini Easter eggs and sprayed the victim with chocolatey saliva, the court heard.

"You spat a mouthful of chocolate balls at her, which on any assessment did not amount to self-defence because there was no physical threat to you," Judge Michael Crosbie said.

"It did come through that she had a reluctance to [move on] but what you did on these occasions was a completely disproportionate response."

In a victim-impact statement the woman said the ordeal had given her three weeks of sleepless nights once she had moved out of the house.

She said she was "made to feel small, ridiculed, ashamed and embarrassed".

Defence counsel Andrew Dawson stressed his client only had four previous convictions, none of which were for serious violence.

"We can safely say what was occurring over this period of time ... was out of character," the judge said.

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