Victim of 'king hit' forgives attacker

The victim of a ''king hit'' in central Dunedin has forgiven the man who knocked him out in the late-night attack.

Matthew Brian McKay (35) previously pleaded guilty to a charge of injuring by an unlawful act and was sentenced in the Dunedin District Court yesterday to five months' community detention and 18 months' intensive supervision.

The man the defendant hit - the new partner of his ex-wife - was praised for his ''maturity and compassion'' by Judge Michael Crosbie.

After a restorative-justice conference between the pair, the victim accepted the man's apology and said he did not want to see him punished by the court.

On February 25 at 1am, McKay was driving in Castle St when he saw his ex-wife and the victim walking through a car park.

As they rounded a corner he stopped his vehicle abruptly, confronted the man and punched him in the face.

The blow knocked the victim unconscious and he collapsed on the pavement. McKay got back into his car and left the scene.

Judge Crosbie said the man had lost an hour of his memory and spent a week off work recuperating.

He could not go to the gym for a month, could not eat solids for a week and struggled to move his jaw for some time after the attack.

''It won't be lost on you there's little separating an assault and a manslaughter or worse,'' the judge said.

In a statement before the court, the victim said he was horrified by his injuries and had pondered the fact he could have been killed when his head hit the ground.

''He did not think he would be king hit while out socialising,'' Judge Crosbie said.

Despite that, when he and McKay met, they were able to put the violent incident behind them.

The defendant explained at the time he had been on medication to stabilise his mood and had only been getting a couple of hours' sleep a night.

When he saw the victim, he ''lost it'', he said.

The victim said he wanted them to move on without anyone's life being ruined.

While the judge said he was enthusiastic about the results of the meeting he said he was unimpressed by McKay describing his actions as ''out of character''.

McKay had been convicted of assaults in 2001 and 2004, as well as convicted of assaulting a female in 2007.

''It seems there are issues to be explored,'' Judge Crosbie said.

By sentencing McKay to community detention rather than home detention, the judge preserved the defendant's ability to continue working as a courier, the court heard.

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