Attacker ‘not sorry in the slightest’

A man who committed assault because he was angry about having his benefits reduced will now be further out of pocket after being ordered to pay reparation to his victim.

Michael Desmond Paul Forde (53) was sentenced yesterday in the Dunedin District Court for assaulting a mental health worker and for trespassing at a mental health facility during the same incident on March 11.

Counsel Chris Lynch told the court the incident had arisen because her client was "very upset" with a reduction in his benefit payments.

"Mr Forde has been doing really well ... short of this incident," Ms Lynch said.

Since 2013 he had been under a Mental Health Act community treatment order, the court heard.

"He’s a man that generally does pretty well in the community, living independently," Ms Lynch said.

There was an acceptance of wrongdoing and a commitment to not offending again, she said.

However, Forde expressed contrary feelings to the court.

“I want to tell you I’m not sorry for assaulting that guy.

"I’m not sorry in the slightest.

"He made a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.

Judge Jim Large said on the day in question Forde had attended the facility and was asked to leave.

"You did, and then came back," Judge Large said.

"When you went back the conversation became angry."

The altercation then turned violent.

Forde punched the victim twice and caused a concussion.

He also provided a running commentary, contesting the judge as he recounted events.

It was “all a load of rubbish”, he said.

His victim gave a statement at an earlier hearing describing the lingering impact of the assault.

The concussion continued to plague him and strained his family relationships, he said.

His attacker had behaved in an aggressive way at the premises previously, which had resulted in the trespass notice, he said.

“He has a complete disregard for others and society,” the man told the court.

Forde was given a nine-month deferred sentence and ordered to pay $250 to the victim for emotional harm.

Judge Large said this might not seem like a significant amount but it would be difficult for Forde to pay.

- Fiona Ellis

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