Woman assaulted after asking man to leave

A 27-year-old man has been convicted of grabbing a woman by the throat after repeatedly being asked to leave her Alexandra home.

Dominic Charles Richard Forsyth, of Alexandra, appeared for trial before Judge Emma Smith on a charge of male assaults female in the Alexandra District Court yesterday.

Police prosecutor Tim Hambleton said he would call two witnesses: Ruby Crichton — the woman Forsyth attacked — and the police officer who investigated the incident which took place on Sunday, September 8, who had since retired.

In her evidence, Miss Crichton said Forsyth came to her house looking for her sister, Libby.

‘‘I told him to leave because he was not welcome,’’ she said.

‘‘I went to close the door and he just barged in. He said ‘Where’s your sister’.’’

He then grabbed her by the neck and forced her against a wall for a ‘‘few seconds’’ before she was able to fend him off with her arm.

This distressed her because Forsyth knew she had pre-existing injuries to her neck from a car crash in January 2018, she said.

Mr Hambleton asked her to indicate her injuries on photos taken by the officer.

Defence counsel Justine Baird referred Miss Crichton to her police statement.

‘‘Do you agree that nowhere in that statement does it say you were pushed against a wall? I put it to you, you are are prone to exaggeration.’’

Miss Crichton replied her mother and child had witnessed the assault and listed the various impacts it had had on her pre-existing neck problems.

Ms Baird said Miss Crichton ‘‘had it in for the defendant’’.

Forsyth elected to give evidence and under questioning from Ms Baird said that when he went to enter the house, Miss Crichton tried to push or punch him.

The only physical contact between them was when he fended her arm away, he said.

In cross-examination, Mr Hambleton questioned why the defendant did not leave when he was asked to.

He directed him to look at the photos of Miss Crichton’s neck.

Forsyth said a visible mark ‘‘could be a freckle, sorry’’.

Ms Baird submitted there was no case to answer based on there being no medical evidence to back up the charge, before Judge Smith interjected:

‘‘Why do I need medical evidence to establish the elements of the charge?’’

Turning to Forsyth, the judge told him it was certain he did not leave when asked to do so, and that she found the evidence of Miss Crichton between her police statement and evidence in court to be ‘‘incredibly consistent’’.

‘‘I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt you did in fact assault Miss Crichton,’’ she said before convicting him.

In the Alexandra District Court on July 23, Forsyth will be sentenced for the assault and another charge of dangerous driving on the Dunedin Southern Motorway on January 10.

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter