Reparation paid over assault

A man who shoved a Queenstown policewoman shortly after assaulting a man in a convenience store has returned to Australia after paying $4000 to his victim.

Kristian Puru (23), a New Zealander living across the Tasman, was sentenced in the North Shore District Court by Judge Jonathan Down on September 12.

He admitted charges of assaulting Simon Leith with intent to injure, and assaulting a constable, Heaeen Chung, in the resort on September 1.

The Otago Daily Times received Judge Down’s sentencing notes this week, six weeks after requesting them from the court.

Judge Down said Puru was drinking in central Queenstown when, about 2.30am, one of his associates got in a "verbal altercation" with another man in a Night ‘n Day store.

Overhearing racial slurs, the defendant slapped the victim’s face, causing him to become "disorientated", then punched him several times.

When police found him in his vehicle, he became "quite physical" with Constable Chung, pushing her in the chest then running away.

Mr Leith suffered a fractured eye socket in the attack, while the assault of Const Chung was "relatively minor".

Judge Down said Puru was intoxicated, and made a "very bad decision to use violence".

However, he was of previous good character, and because he lived in Australia with his partner and child, there was no benefit to the New Zealand community in sending him to prison or detaining him any longer in order to carry out community work or some other sentence.

The defendant had offered $4000 in reparation to Mr Leith.

"Although it would be unusual to allow a person to effectively pay their way out of prison, I do not believe that is what I am doing today.

"You walk away from this incident no longer with a clean record, and that inevitably will have an effect in some way on your future."

On the assault with intent to injure, Puru was convicted and ordered to pay Mr Leith $4000 in reparation. On the second charge, he was convicted and discharged.


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