Lockdown drinking led to assault

A Balclutha man who assaulted his partner after a Covid-19-lockdown drinking session will keep his identity secret.

The 25-year-old had not had name suppression until yesterday’s sentencing at the Dunedin District Court, where he pleaded guilty to assault in a family relationship and speaking threateningly.

Despite that, Judge Mark Callaghan granted permanent suppression because naming him would inevitably identify his partner with whom he worked and that was “not something in her interests”.

Defence counsel Andy Belcher said the couple — who remained together despite the violent outburst — were part of a small workforce.

If the victim was outed it would cause her “stress and embarrassment”, he argued.

The couple, like many others, were not working on April 16, while the country was in Level 4 lockdown.

By 6pm, the defendant, who had been drinking “high-strength beer”, was getting progressively more drunk.

His partner went to bed to avoid him.

Two hours later, however, the defendant remained belligerent.

When she sat down on the couch, her partner grabbed a cup and held it over her threateningly.

He grabbed the side of her neck with his thumb over her windpipe and threw the cup aside.

The man then picked up a pint glass and smashed it against a wall, ending the assault.

But it did not conclude his erratic behaviour.

The defendant went to the kitchen to get a boning knife and held it to his own throat, asking his partner if she wanted him to stab himself.

The victim then fled to a bedroom and requested her friend call police.

Before officers arrived, the defendant had hidden the knife but later showed them where he had stashed it.

Mr Belcher said had it not been for the Covid-19 situation, things would never have reached boiling point as they did.

While the victim said her partner had never been violent in the past, she said the man drank too much and could not handle it.

She would continue to support him, she said.

The court received references from the defendant’s employer, the sports club for which he played and confirmation he was attending counselling.

He was sentenced to nine months’ supervision.


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