Rehearing granted to man charged with naked mayhem

Melted happy birthday candles on cake. Photo: Getty Images/stock
The incident took place at the defendant's 20th birthday party. Photo: Getty Images/stock
A man who went berserk on his birthday, and in his birthday suit, has had an 11th-hour reprieve.

Max Stirling Roche (20) was due to be sentenced in the Dunedin District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to assault with intent to injure, a charge carrying up to three years’ imprisonment.

But after a productive meeting with his victim, the police family violence team now supported the defendant going through the diversion scheme, the court heard.

Judge David Robinson acknowledged the approach was ‘‘unusual’’ but granted a rehearing and set the conviction aside, allowing Roche to potentially walk away from the drunken incident without a black mark on his record.

Roche hosted a party at his Woodhaugh home on January 30, to celebrate his 20th birthday.

His ex-girlfriend joined the revelry at 7pm but five hours later noticed the deteriorating state of the defendant and helped him to a sleepout at the back of the property.

Roche — in view of the amassed partygoers — stripped naked and became increasingly agitated as his friends yelled comments at him.

The victim attempted to save his blushes by covering him in a blanket but he responded with violence.

Roche pushed the woman on to the bed before aiming punches at her head, jaw and arms, a police summary said. The victim kicked out at her former partner.
Roche caught her left foot and bit her big toe.

She fled outside but the defendant — still nude — chased and tackled her to the ground.

He briefly climbed on top of her before he was restrained by friends.

The victim, who sustained bruising to her jaw, arms and a cut to her toe, locked herself in the sleepout.

Roche was unable to assist police with the sequence of events when he was interviewed.

“[He] stated the last thing he remembered was when it was still light outside,” court documents said.

Diversion is granted if a defendant meets all the criteria set by police, which can include reparation and rehabilitative measures.

Counsel Deborah Henderson said Roche had three more sessions of Stopping Violence to complete.

He will appear in court again in August.

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