St Patrick’s day punch: man not convicted

A German man has been granted a discharge without conviction after a complainant admitted the punch that broke his tooth could have been accidental.

At his judge-alone trial in the Queenstown District Court yesterday Lars Zinnert (23), of Fernhill, denied assaulting bouncer Jonathan Dixon.

Giving evidence, Mr Dixon said he was working as a security doorman at Morrison’s Irish Pub in the resort’s town centre on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, last year.

About 7.20pm, after being alerted to an incident inside the bar, he saw bar owner Adam Nagy grappling with the defendant while a second, ‘‘super-aggressive’’ man was trying to pull Mr Nagy off the defendant.

As he went to restrain Zinnert, who was ‘‘flailing his arms about’’, he caught a punch to his head.

‘‘He smashed me in the face — right in the kisser’’.

After ejecting Zinnert from the bar, he went back to eject the second man, who appeared to be the ‘‘ringleader’’ of a group of four that included the defendant.

It was only later he noticed one of his front teeth had been cracked by the defendant’s punch.

He became emotional as he told Sgt Collin that the tooth’s condition had become worse because he could not afford cosmetic dental treatment.

In response to a question from Judge Bernadette Farnan, he said he ‘‘did not know’’ if the defendant’s punch was deliberate or not.

He was surprised that CCTV footage from inside the bar, provided to the prosecution, did not show the punch.

At the suggestion of Judge Farnan, Sgt Collin amended the charge to one of behaving in a disorderly manner.

Zinnert’s counsel, Tanya Surrey, said he would plead guilty to the new charge, but a conviction would jeopardise his plans to apply for residency in New Zealand.

Judge Farnan granted Zinnert a discharge without conviction, and ordered him to make a $500 donation to a charity of his choice.

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