Recidivist offender jailed after admitting two assaults

He did not think there was any argument the defendant was a recidivist violent offender, Judge Kevin Phillips said dealing with a man on two charges of injuring with intent to injure.

Paul Zac Neilson (24) was before the Dunedin District Court yesterday having accepted a sentencing indication and admitted both offences.

The victim of the first incident, in October last year, was his partner. The victim of the second incident, on July 8 this year, was a fellow inmate at Otago Corrections Facility.

Neilson's past history included convictions for aggravated assault, male assaults female offences, and breaching a protection order, the judge said.

The police summary said on or about October 28 last year Neilson and his partner were at home.

During an argument, Neilson became angry and attacked her. He hit her face causing an extremely large bruise from her left eye down to her left cheekbone.

He also knocked her to the floor and kicked the lower part of her body resulting in bruising to her legs and hips.

About 10.30am on July 8 this year, Neilson was released from his cell at Otago Corrections for an appointment with the facility nurse.

Seated at a table opposite his cell was another prisoner.

Neilson approached and punched the right side of his head, the force causing the man to fall off his seat on to the floor.

Neilson attended his appointment and the victim was sitting at the same table when Neilson returned soon after.

Neilson approached a second time.

The victim stood up as Neilson struck him multiple times to the head and body.

While Neilson continued the barrage, the victim covered his head with his hands to protect himself.

The victim fell and a Corrections' staff member put himself between Neilson and the victim to stop the assault.

Public defender Andrew Dawson said Neilson had been in custody more or less constantly since he was 16. He had recently left a gang and had reflected on his position and holding himself accountable. Keen to start making changes, he had been attending counselling while in custody.

Neilson was aware of the impact of his offending on both victims, ``particularly his former partner''. His remorse was evident and he had written letters of apology, Mr Dawson said.

The judge sentenced Neilson to two years and six months' jail for the assault on the victim at OCF, and one year and six months (concurrent) for the assault on his partner in October last year.

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