Attacks came days after Covid breach sentence

A Dunedin forestry worker who assaulted two men in Queenstown last October had only five days earlier been sentenced for a lockdown breach that made national headlines.

Martin Karl Nolan (30) was sentenced to eight months’ prison, with leave to apply for home detention, when he appeared before Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court on Tuesday.

Nolan admitted two charges of assault, one a more serious Crimes Act charge, stemming from two incidents in the resort’s CBD on October 16 last year.

Counsel Paige Noorland said the defendant, who had an issue with alcohol, accepted responsibility for his actions.

However, Judge Turner expressed scepticism about Nolan’s remorse.

"He tried to justify his behaviour to a probation officer by saying the victims were former gang members."

He had told the officer he made a "preemptive strike" on the first victim because he felt threatened.

The offending was aggravated by the fact he had received a community work sentence only five days earlier for going jet-boating near Makarora with six mates during last August’s lockdown.

Nolan also had convictions for violence in 2012, 2014, and twice in 2019, the judge said.

"Those sentences have not brought about a change in your behaviour."

The defendant had made "unprovoked attacks" on the two men, targeting their heads.

The police summary says Nolan was at a Ballarat St bar about 9.30pm when he head-butted the first victim.

When the victim stopped himself from falling by placing his hand near an open fire, he suffered burns.

The victim’s friend managed to drag Nolan off him, and they had a brief scuffle before all three men left the bar.

A short time later, Nolan approached the friend and punched him "multiple times" in the head before running towards Camp St.

He was arrested a short time later after police found him hiding in a bush.

Nolan was sentenced to eight months’ prison for the Crimes Act charge, and two months’ prison, concurrent, for the second charge.

However, he was given leave to apply for home detention, provided a suitable address could be found.

He must pay $100 reparation to one of the victims.



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