Sentenced for Crate Day violence

Crate Day was not a great day for a Palmerston man and his family.

Among a portion of society, the first day of summer - December 1 - is celebrated by consuming a crate of beer.

The Dunedin District Court on Friday heard that at 6.30pm, after a day of drinking, Hare Keelan (22) went to his aunt's house.

First Keelan broke a window at the side of the property, which prompted the victim to pursue him.

He wandered off, smashing several windows of two vehicles parked on the roadside.

When Keelan went back to the house, his aunt again met him.

He pushed her, causing her to trip and fall to the ground.

When the victim returned to her front porch, Keelan attacked.

He head-butted his aunt, striking her in the forehead, before leaving the address.

And he was hardly the embodiment of remorse when police quizzed him about what had happened.

When they asked if he had assaulted the victim, he replied: "*** oath that's my aunty" - "as if it was an achievement", Judge Kevin Phillips said.

Officers asked Keelan about the smashed windows.

"My story is I did what I did," he said.

Judge Phillips described the responses as "arrogance".

Keelan, the court heard, had recently moved down from the North Island for a fresh start.

"You travelled south to be with your whanau in an attempt to stop what was quickly becoming a landslide of criminal activity," the judge said.

With his violent outburst, Keelan had now alienated the family.

His aunt said she was concerned that children witnessed the drunken assault and her nephew was no longer welcome in her home.

Defence counsel Brendan Stephenson said his client was so intoxicated he did not remember committing his crimes.

Keelan, he said, accepted he had alcohol problems as well as issues controlling his anger.

Judge Phillips had given "careful consideration" to sending the defendant to prison but opted to pull back.

Keelan was sentenced to three months' community detention, 280 hours' community work and nine months' supervision.

He would pay the $2267 reparation at $20 a week out of his benefit.


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