Drunk man attacked employer at party

Getting too drunk at the work Christmas party is inadvisable; beating your boss unconscious, more so.

Samuel Owen Barnett (27) was drinking at his employer’s Dunedin home with his partner on October 28 last year and the pair reached such a state, the boss asked them to leave.

The Dunedin District Court heard yesterday how the man was leading the defendant’s partner out of the property when a scuffle began.

What happened next, Judge Michael Turner called "an unprovoked and cowardly attack".

"You approached him from behind and struck him to the head, had knocked him to the ground and continued to attack him," he said.

Barnett inflicted a flurry of blows to the victim’s head and torso, resulting in him drifting in and out of consciousness.

Despite being drunk, the defendant jumped into his car, reversed into a parked vehicle and took off.

He denied charges of aggravated drink-driving and careless driving but was found guilty at a judge-alone trial.Barnett had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with intent to injure.

Judge Turner said the victim needed seven stitches and suffered black eyes, a suspected broken nose and concussion.

"You said you were going to the aid of your partner," he told Barnett.

"I found your actions were not in defence of another; they were unjustified."

Counsel Debbie Ericsson said the drunken violence had led to her client losing his job but he had since established a new building firm with a colleague.

Business was booming, she said, with contract work set to keep them busy for the next two years.

Barnett had attended 35 sessions of anti-violence counselling and his partner had given birth six weeks ago, the court heard.

The judge imposed five months’ community detention, restricting the defendant to his Seacliff home at weekends.

He was also sentenced to 100 hours’ community work, 12 months’ supervision and three months’ disqualification from driving and ordered to pay $680 reparation.


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