Gay bar assault 'not homophobia'

The prosecution in a gay bar assault case today said homophobia was not a factor in the bashing.

The last-minute concession was news to Judge John Strettell and to the complainant, Ivy Bar manager Steve Mawhinney, who was assaulted and hit in the face on August 22 last year.

At Wellington District Court today, Adrian Sherman was convicted and sentenced to four months' community detention and ordered to pay $450 reparation for emotional harm.

Sherman's lawyer Steven Lack said the 23-year-old only intervened in a "fight that was already happening" and said his client was remorseful.

Mr Lack said a summary of facts showed hatred of gays was not a factor in the assault, and prosecutor Sergeant Kevin Shaw told the judge he agreed.

Sherman was at the bar with two friends, one man and one woman. The male friend allegedly involved in the fracas was never charged.

Mr Mawhinney told reporters outside court the sentence was pathetic, and it disgusted him.

Judge Strettell told the court Sherman would probably have been jailed if homophobia was shown to be the motivating factor the assault.

By John Weekes of NZME. News Service

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