Dog did it, assault accused tells court

A Dunedin man accused of strangling and beating up his pregnant former partner has blamed the woman’s injuries on their pet dog.

The jury trial before Judge David Robinson continued in the Dunedin District Court yesterday as the man denied three counts of strangulation, two of assault in a family relationship, assault with intent to injure and assault with a weapon.

During cross-examination of the complainant, counsel Brendan Stephenson asked the woman if she had made up the allegations in order to retain full custody of their daughter.

He suggested the couple’s dog had inflicted the bruising to her face.

"That’s ludicrous," the woman said.

"I have no reason to lie about something as serious as this."

The woman claims she was strangled multiple times throughout the relationship and was punched in the head on several occasions.

A video of a hole in a wall was shown to the jury and the woman said this occurred when her ex-partner picked her up and slammed her against it.

Yesterday, the defence case began with the accused entering the witness box, saying, he "broke the wall playing silly buggers" with his dog.

"Not once, ever, in a violent manner have I ever put my hands on [her]," the man said. "There was never any violence."

When asked how his ex-partner ended up with multiple black eyes throughout the duration of their relationship, again he blamed the dog.

"She was on the ground playing with him. He is a very big boisterous dog and, yeah, he ended up headbutting her."

On Monday, the woman told the jury her ex-partner was responsible for her injuries.

"I remember him clocking my nose ... he told me to get outside. He dragged me by my hair.

"When he was strangling me, he picked me up by the throat and slammed my head into the floor."

The jury was shown photographs of her bruised face along with messages the couple exchanged throughout their relationship.

When the pair were living together with their infant child, the man wrote: "I’m on my way and I’m going to f... everything up".

"I’m losing my mind, look at what you do to me."

The woman said the relationship was "like a roller-coaster" and she felt stuck in the situation due to financial hardship.

After her ex-partner’s "begging and pleading", she repeatedly went back to the relationship and even accepted a marriage proposal.

"I stupidly said yes. I was young and I thought I was in love."

The jury also heard from the complainant’s mother yesterday, who said she saw her pregnant daughter with two black eyes and advised her to go to Women’s Refuge.

"She said [he] had been hitting her for a while. She said she was scared," the woman said.

The defendant faces cross-examination today. The trial is set to wrap up tomorrow.