Kiwi entertainer placed wife in headlock

A prominent Kiwi entertainer has been convicted of assaulting his wife after he placed her in a headlock.

He will also keep his name secret for at least 20 working days.

The man was sentenced today in the North Shore District Court by Judge Claire Ryan to six months' supervision and 70 hours of community work.

The entertainer was due to go to trial in February after an incident involving his wife last year, but he reversed his not guilty plea to a male assaults female charge in November.

The incident occurred after the pair were at a Takapuna restaurant with friends last June.

The entertainer grew upset at what his wife was saying about him, the court heard, and he kicked her legs under the table.

She left and took herself home.

However, later, at about 11pm the entertainer arrived home drunk.

He woke his wife up and spat in her face before telling her the pair would not be travelling to Australia together.

He then went downstairs and poured himself another drink, the court heard.

The entertainer's wife decided to hide the couple's passports, but when the entertainer discovered this he grabbed her and used her arms to hit himself about the face.

He then grabbed her neck and placed her in a headlock.

The entertainer's wife said she would call the police but the entertainer stopped her by throwing her cellphone away, breaking it.

She later arrived at a police station via a taxi and displayed bruising to her face and neck, the court heard.

The entertainer's lawyer, Paul Wicks QC, said today his client's offending was "out of character".

The well-known personality has also completed an anti-violence programme, was seeing an alcohol therapist and was undergoing couples counselling, Wicks said.

He added the entertainer has "lost what was a promising career in the media" as a result of the charge.

Judge Ryan, however, said work repercussions were common for those convicted of violence offences.

She said other high-profile people who have been convicted of domestic violence have since "gone on to have promising careers overseas".

Former sports broadcaster Tony Veitch lost his television career after assaulting his partner but later enjoyed a career on Radio Sport and last year announced his wellness retreat in Bali.

The court also heard today that the entertainer received a written warning in January after displaying an "entitled attitude" and not taking the judicial process seriously while on bail.

Judge Ryan said the entertainer had "caused not only yourself but also your wife considerable shame".

"If you ever do that again you will face a more serious offence commonly known as strangulation," the judge told the man.

"Your family violence is certainly more significant than others."

Judge Ryan said: "Your wife suffers two burdens, one is you're famous and two is she is the victim."

The entertainer's wife was not at the sentencing hearing today.

Wicks had successfully argued for interim name suppression of the entertainer's name at his first appearance last June.

But the entertainer's wife later made an application for permanent name suppression.

Wicks said if the entertainer and his wife's names were published there would be a negative "impact on their marriage" and rehabilitation.

Judge Ryan declined the application, which would have also permanently suppressed the entertainer's name by association.

The application was opposed by the Herald.

However, an interim name suppression order was made to allow the entertainer's wife the opportunity to appeal.

The court heard at an earlier hearing that the victim did not wish to participate in a restorative justice process.

The prominent entertainer is not the Kiwi media personality who saw violence charges against him dropped.

The media personality, who has permanent name suppression, was accused of assaulting a woman with intent to injure. He was also charged with assaulting a second person on two separate occasions.

His charges, however, were dismissed last December after no evidence was offered by the Auckland Crown prosecutor's office, the Herald revealed in January.

Last month, after the Herald sought the media personality's court file, a judge said the man's presumption of innocence was "crystallised as absolute" and declined the newspaper's efforts to examine the documents.

Suppression orders also prevent the Herald from reporting more details about the allegations against the media personality, who had pleaded not guilty and was to go to trial before a jury later this year.

The media personality continues to work in the media.

 

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