Brawling couple now committed to life of sobriety

A drunken rap recital has ended in both the late-night lyricist and his partner ending up with convictions.

Lucan Lance Tipene (35) returned from a night in town to his sleeping partner, 35-year-old Mihima Wanoa.

''He entered the bedroom and wanted to recite a new rap to his partner,'' court documents said.

''His partner awoke and told him she did not want to listen to the rap. She was upset that she had been awoken.''

What happened next, Judge Emma Smith said, was difficult to determine precisely.

What was clear though, was that both Tipene and Wanoa were criminally culpable for their actions.

A police summary said it began when the man climbed on top of his partner and punched her in the head.

She kicked him off her.

He was propelled across the room on to a couch, the court heard.

When Wanoa pushed a mirror on to her boyfriend he asked: ''Is that all you have got?''

He smashed a television on the floor and the brawl moved outside.

There, Wanoa punched him in the face; then, Tipene dragged her to the ground.

There was another punch and more grappling before police were called.

One police summary said Wanoa requested a passer-by call police; another said a passing motorist alerted authorities.

Either way, both defendants admitted their respective roles.

Tipene said: ''I hit her and I feel really bad about it.

''I hit her and I love her, that's not what I'm supposed to do,'' he told police.

The Dunedin District Court last week heard the pair were now committed to a life of sobriety.

Both were undertaking counselling and there was now ''zero tolerance towards alcohol in the relationship'', Tipene's lawyer Brendan Stephenson said.

The couple had continued to live together while on bail and there had been no hint of violence, the court heard.

While it was difficult to distinguish between the two defendants' actions, the judge said Tipene had to be dealt with more severely because he had previous violence convictions.

Both were convicted of assault in a family relationship. Wanoa was sentenced to six months' supervision, while Tipene got nine months' supervision and 60 hours' community work.


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