Man blamed dog for injuries he inflicted while beating pregnant ex-partner

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

Last week, after hearing from both the victim and the defendant in a four-day trial in the Dunedin District Court, a jury found the man guilty of five family-violence charges — including strangulation and assault with intent to injure — and not guilty of two.

The woman presented at Dunedin Hospital with two black eyes after she was strangled and punched in the head repeated times in 2019.

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 defence case began with the accused entering the witness box, saying he broke a wall "playing silly buggers" with his dog, rather than attacking
his girlfriend.

"Not once, ever, in a violent manner have I ever put my hands on [her]," the man said.

When asked how his ex-partner ended up with repeated 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."

The jury was shown photographs of the victim’s 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 the verdicts came in, Judge David Robinson remanded the defendant in custody before sentencing in June.