Rich-lister's son apologises

Nikolas James Posa Delegat stands in the dock during his sentencing at the Dunedin District Court...
Nikolas James Posa Delegat stands in the dock during his sentencing at the Dunedin District Court yesterday. PHOTO: STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
The rich-lister's son who punched a female police officer unconscious has today apologised for his "bad decision in the heat of the moment".

Nikolas James Posa Delegat, 19, was a University of Otago student when he attacked and knocked unconscious Constable Alana Kane and assaulted a Campus Watch staff member during a drunken scuffle outside Starters Bar, in Frederick St, in March last year.

Yesterday, Delegat was sentenced to 300 hours community work for the police assault, 100 hours for assaulting a campus watch officer, 60 hours for wilful damage, and 60 hours for resisting arrest. He has also been ordered to pay $5000 emotional harm reparation to the police officer he punched.

Kane is still being helped by colleagues on her road back to work, 18 months after the attack.

In a statement released to the Herald on behalf of the Delegat family, Nikolas Delegat apologised for the harm he has caused.

"Nikolas takes full responsibility for his actions that night," it says.

"He attended a restorative justice conference where he expressed his remorse, and he again apologises to the police officer, university security guard and all others concerned.

"Nikolas was in the first two month of his university study away from home in Dunedin.

"He made a bad decision in the heat of the moment which caused considerable harm to those affected, which he regrets.

"He also apologises to his family and those around him for the trouble he has caused them."

The police officer Delegat punched in is still being helped by colleagues on her road back to work, 18 months after the attack.

Today, Acting Area Commander Otago Coastal Inspector Kelvin Lloyd released a statement which said Kane would not be making any comment on the case.

"Any assault on our staff is a concern and we continue to offer Constable Kane the necessary help and support she needs in her recovery," Lloyd said.

"While operational policing always carries an element of risk, our staff do not go to work expecting to be assaulted.

"Constable Kane is very grateful for the support and concern that members of the public have expressed to her."

Kane's focus is now on returning to work and she asks for privacy at this time, Lloyd said.

Meanwhile. Delegat has not ruled out appealing his sentence of community work. 

He sought a discharge without conviction when he appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday for sentence on charges of assaulting Const Kane with intent to obstruct her in the execution of her duty, assaulting Campus Watch staff member David Ogilvie, wilful damage and resisting arrest.

His lawyer, Auckland barrister Mark Ryan, said a conviction would prevent Delegat from becoming a licensed authorised financial adviser under the Financial Markets Authority - a career which he was pursuing - and from entering the United States to compete in yacht races.

Judge Kevin Phillips rejected those submissions, saying the assault had a ''serious'' impact on Const Kane, resulting in 15 hours of hospital treatment, several weeks off-duty, months of recuperation and ongoing issues with headaches.

``Tell me about his financial position,'' Judge Phillips said to Mr Ryan.

``He's able to pay a fine,'' Mr Ryan responded.

``I'm not talking about a fine. I'm talking about emotional harm reparation. This has almost destroyed her life,'' the judge said.

Delegat is the son of wine magnate Jakov ''Jim'' Delegat and wife Kate. Jim and his sister Rosemari's wealth stands at $450 million, according to the National Business Review 2016 Rich List.

He was a student at the University of Otago in March last year when he became enraged by a derogatory comment made about his girlfriend by a friend during a night out drinking at Starters Bar, in Frederick St, a summary of facts said.

He punched a hole in a window at the bar and got into a heated argument with his girlfriend.

A member of the public brought Delegat's behaviour with the woman to the attention of Mr Ogilvie, who tried to intervene. Delegat attempted to punch him and then kneed him in the face when Mr Ogilvie slipped to his knees.

A passing police patrol noticed the fracas and Const Kane and her partner, Constable Keith Early, attempted to assist.

Delegat punched Const Kane in the face and then yelled ``get off me cop'' and punched her another three or four times.

Judge Phillips ordered Delegat to pay $5000 emotional harm reparation to Const Kane and sentenced him to 300 hours community work for assaulting the officer, 100 hours community work for assaulting Mr Ogilvie, 60 hours community work for the wilful damage and 60 hours community work for resisting arrest.

The sentences will be served concurrently, meaning Delegat will carry out 300 hours of community work.

However, Mr Ryan confirmed Delegat, his family and legal team had an ``open mind'' about the possibility of appealing the sentence and conviction.

``I can't rule that out,'' he told the Otago Daily Times after the hearing.

``It's something that we'll consider.

``I will discuss it with my client and his family and see which way we go on that.''

Details of the attack on Const Kane were revealed for the first time during the sentencing.

Judge Phillips said Delegat punched Const Kane with enough force to ``render that officer into a state of unconsciousness''.

``[He] then punched her another three or four times ... all aimed at the head,'' he said.

The other responding officer, Constable Keith Early, described the violence of the assault in evidential briefs referenced by Judge Phillips, saying Delegat was ``absolutely smashing her''.

``If she has another brain trauma like she did that night, it would seriously compromise her health,'' Judge Phillips said.

timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

additional reporting NZ Herald

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