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A man who subjected his girlfriend to a sustained assault to avoid discussing their relationship has failed to dodge a conviction.
Evan Tiso Paiaaua (25) appeared before the court yesterday with a clean criminal record, but Judge Michael Turner found there was more to the defendant's history.
In 2015, he went to an ex-partner's house and punched her new boyfriend several times in the head before gouging his eye.
He was discharged without conviction then, but the judge refused to repeat the lenient approach yesterday.
''It shows a tendency to be violent in a domestic setting,'' Judge Turner said.
Paiaaua argued a blemish on his record would hinder his job prospects.
His counsel, Marie Taylor-Cyphers, said if her client trained as a psychologist he might be denied entry to the profession on grounds he was not considered ''a fit and proper person''.
The court heard Paiaaua also hoped to compete internationally in basketball, rugby and mixed martial arts.
Judge Turner, though, stressed there were no firm plans in place and future hardship to the defendant was ''speculative'' at best.
Paiaaua was at home with his girlfriend on July 4 last year.
Their relationship was described as ''volatile'' and while the woman wanted to talk about their issues, the defendant did not.
Paiaaua verbally abused the victim then pushed her over and pinned her down.
He forced his hand over her mouth and nose so tightly, the court heard, that his then-partner struggled for breath.
Although he eventually released the victim, there were at least two similar attacks that same evening.
Paiaaua left for work the next morning and the woman called police.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and now Ms Taylor-Cyphers said there was a risk the man might be expelled from his Otago Polytechnic course.
After declining the discharge without conviction, Judge Turner sentenced Paiaaua to 60 hours' community work and nine months' supervision.