Discharge bid undermined by failure: judge

A Queenstown man’s application for a discharge without conviction was undermined by his failure to disclose serious drug convictions in Australia, a judge has said.

The application by Joshua Paul Nock (32), unemployed, was heard by Judge Russell Walker in the Queenstown District Court on Tuesday.

Nock changed his plea and admitted a charge of assault in a family relationship, in Queenstown on November 2 last year, after the first day of a judge-alone trial last month.

Counsel Kieran Tohill said the defendant had drug-related convictions in Australia from seven years ago, for which he received a prison sentence.

However, the defendant maintained it was a suspended sentence, and he "did not set foot in prison".

He also had a conviction in New Zealand for driving while suspended.

The defendant was a builder and tiler, but was awaiting surgery for a serious back injury that meant it was unlikely he could return to either of those trades, Mr Tohill said.

However, if the surgery was successful, he hoped to start a new career either with the New Zealand Defence Force, the police, or as a social worker.

A conviction was likely to prevent him entering any of those occupations.

It would also prevent him travelling freely to Australia, where he had grown up and spent most of his adult life.

Judge Walker said Nock’s failure to disclose his convictions in Queensland was concerning.

The defendant had described them in a written affidavit as minor matters, and their seriousness had only come to light after the police sought more information through Interpol.

No independent evidence had been provided showing the consequences of a conviction would be any worse than those already faced by the defendant from his previous convictions.

Therefore, there were no grounds for a discharge without conviction, and the judge turned down the application.

Yesterday’s hearing followed last month’s part-heard trial, at which the court heard evidence about a domestic violence incident at Nock and his partner’s home.

A verbal argument the previous evening reignited a few hours later while they were in bed, and escalated to the point where Nock pushed the complainant on to their bed, put his hands on her neck and shook her.

After getting off her, he pushed her against the wall, then threw her to the floor.

Nock also slapped his partner’s face during the incident.

Police agreed to withdraw a charge of intentional damage if the defendant admitted the assault in a family relationship charge.

In sentencing, Judge Walker said he regarded the defendant’s expression of remorse about the November incident with suspicion.

He was surprised the defendant was not facing a new charge arising from his attempted coercion of the complainant before the trial, when he urged her to refuse to give evidence.

He convicted Nock and sentenced him to 75 hours’ community work and 12 months’ supervision to enable intervention for his addiction and violence issues.

Also convicted and sentenced by Judge Walker on Tuesday, after a judge-alone trial, was:

• Daniel William Bicknell (40), plasterer, of Queenstown, intimidation, January 22, Queenstown, fined $500, court costs $130.




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