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A Dunedin medical student has failed to avoid a conviction for assaulting a young woman who challenged him about his inappropriate behaviour at a party.
But in convicting 20-year-old Byung Chan Kim (20), Judge Kevin Phillips urged him to take the victim's advice, and to "aim high", to work his way through the consequences of a conviction.
He gave Kim a 12-month deferred sentence and ordered him to pay $800 emotional harm reparation to the assault victim.
Kim had been drinking at another gathering before arriving uninvited at the Frederick St party on the night of March 16.
He kissed a young woman he knew and, when challenged by another female about his behaviour, grabbed that woman by the throat, squeezing for several seconds.
He was removed from the party, a complaint was made to the police and he was charged with assaulting a female.
Kim pleaded guilty but asked not to be convicted because of the likely effects on his study, his employment and his future.
In the Dunedin District Court this week, counsel Jo Turner said the defendant accepted he had drunk too much and believed he had "misread cues" from the young woman he kissed. He was "a bit befuddled" when the victim spoke to him, felt he was "unable to get a word in" and reached out and grabbed the victim by the throat, holding on for a short time.
He was later "horrified" by his behaviour, asked about apologising to the victim but was advised against that. A day later he learned the victim had made a complaint and voluntarily went to the police.
The offending was out of character, Ms Turner said. Kim agreed to have counselling and referred himself to a stopping violence programme. He had been upfront with the university authorities, had gone through a restorative justice meeting, and the victim had asked him to become an advocate for victims of violence.
Judge Kevin Phillips said the offence was not as serious as some, but had involved violence against a young woman, and so had to be treated very seriously.
He accepted Kim had pleaded guilty, expressed his remorse and been through the restorative justice process.
But he believed the circumstances warranted a conviction.
"I don't accept drunkenness is any excuse for violence - and neither should you," the judge said.