Ordered to apologise to wife for assault

A Samoan  migrant who punched his wife as she held their baby has made a public apology for his conduct.

Christopher Moe (24) appeared in the Dunedin District Court last week after pleading guilty to assaulting a female.

Usually a defendant's remorse is expressed in written form or at a restorative-justice conference before sentencing.

But Judge Kevin Phillips had a more direct approach in mind.

"Apologise to her,'' he told Moe, after hearing counsel Brian Kilkelly's submissions.

The victim was invited into the body of the court while her partner made his impromptu mea culpa.

"First of all, I'd like to say I'm really ashamed of myself,'' Moe told the judge.

"Don't look at me; look at her,'' Judge Phillips said.

The victim cried as the defendant spoke.

"I'm really sorry for everything. I'm truly truly sorry ... I appreciate everything you do for me,'' he said.

The matter should not have even ended up at sentencing, the judge said.

Moe was originally offered diversion by police if he completed specified courses.

"And you didn't do any of them.''

Moe and his wife were living with their toddler in an isolated rural part of Bulls in September last year.

Mr Kilkelly said the family had not long moved over from Samoa, they were short of money and socially isolated.

Moe had been working two jobs and was suffering sleep deprivation and exhaustion at the time, he told the court.

The defendant yelled at the child who was crying in the victim's lap.

When she told Moe to stop shouting, he grabbed her by the hair, pulled her close to him and punched her in the head.

He repeated the act twice more as she clung on to their child, the court heard.

The victim tried to call police but Moe took the phone from her, so she ran to a neighbour's home for help.

Despite the violence, the woman stood behind Moe and wrote a letter to the court stressing her support.

She was now pregnant with their second child, the judge noted.

"Having two children at your home will be stressful,'' he said.

Moe was sentenced to nine months' supervision and 50 hours' community work.



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