Woman loses an eye after assault

A woman was so severely beaten by her partner she lost the sight in her eye and the eye had to be removed, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

Before Judge Stephen Coyle was Dunedin man Charlie Junior Kawau (22), who admitted intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to the woman between May 15 and 20 this year.

Kawau and the woman had been in a relationship for about 18 months and there had been a history of domestic violence, prosecutor Sergeant Paul Knox told the court. The defendant had been convicted of domestic violence offending against the woman.

The police investigation showed the victim was ''caught in a cycle'' of escalating domestic violence to such an extent she was unable or reluctant to come forward, Sgt Knox said. When police spoke to her, she claimed a group of unknown females had attacked her at her home.

That version of events was supported by Kawau, who denied being at the house that evening. He also complained of having a broken hand. The couple went to Winz in Dunedin on May 15 to ask for assistance and staff noticed the woman had a black eye. Assistance was declined and Kawau became very angry, walking out, swearing.

About 8am on May 18, the two became involved in a domestic altercation. Both parties went to a nearby address, the victim knocking loudly on the front door trying to raise the alarm. The occupant of the house saw her shaking and looking scared as Kawau argued and swore at her.

He repeatedly grabbed her wrists and she kept telling him to leave her alone, trembling and holding her hands up. Kawau then walked away, Sgt Knox said.

On May 19 and 20, the defendant subjected the woman to a violent assault, striking her repeatedly about the head, face, eyes, body and arms. As a result, he took her to hospital for treatment, about 9am on May 20. The woman had severe bruising and swelling to her head and face, particularly around the eyes. Her right eye was swollen and almost completely shut and she had fractured bones in her left wrist, requiring a plaster cast.

She was discharged from hospital on the Tuesday evening but, over the following days, suffered such ongoing pain and nausea she had to be readmitted for surgery. It was found her right eye had been so severely damaged by Kawau's attack that she lost the sight in the eye and the eye was going to have to be removed and replaced with a prosthetic eye.

Kawau was remanded in custody for sentence on July 17.