Man who attacked partner allowed to drive school bus

A man who attacked his partner has been sentenced to community detention and will now be able to drive a school bus, a court has heard.

Tukirunga Steven Perenara's dreams of being a teacher might have been extinguished by the violent incident on January 9 but he was still someone with ''a sense of community'', counsel Meg Scally said.

The 28-year-old Dunedin man - who now has three convictions for assaulting women since 2009 - would be unlikely to have a teacher's registration approved but Ms Scally said he was determined to complete his degree in education with a view to becoming a youth counsellor.

Perenara had recently been working at a holiday programme, where he taught kapa haka, and he had volunteered to be the bus driver at his children's school.

On a sentence of home detention that would have been impossible, but under community detention (with a 7pm-7am curfew) the defendant would get the green light, the court heard.

Judge Michael Crosbie noted the ``pro-social factors'' in Perenara's life and said it was those that had persuaded him to impose the five-month term on the charge of assaulting a woman.

The flare-up took place at the house of his then partner, the court heard, while the couple's children were home.

After arguing with the victim, Perenara followed her from the lounge to the bedroom.

When she turned round to face him, he grabbed her by the throat and upper arm and flung her on to a nearby couch.

The victim lay in the foetal position to protect herself. Perenara knelt on her, while gripping her by the neck again.

He pulled her back and forth several times, threatened to remove the children from her care and punched the couch.

The woman suffered headaches, vomiting, tenderness to her body and a chipped tooth.

She said the incident ``truly ended things'' between the pair and she now wanted to move on with her life.

Perenara pleaded guilty to the charge on the morning of his trial.

He told Probation the flare-up was prefaced by the victim going to a party and staying away for days, which left him angry and concerned for the children.

But he put no blame on his ex-partner, Judge Crosbie said.

He said the message needed to be sent to the community: ``Those who do commit acts of violence against their partners ... will be taken seriously by the court.''

``You will appreciate now, as she walked away that should have been the end of it,'' the judge said.

Perenara was also sentenced to 140 hours' community work and nine months' supervision.

rob.kidd@odt.co.nz

 

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