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A Queenstown man who beat up two Good Samaritans trying to help his girlfriend has been given a chance to reform.
Sentencing Jason John Bastion (34) in the Queenstown District Court on Monday, Judge Catriona Doyle highlighted his traumatic history as the victim of violence, neglect and abuse while a child.
Instead of going to prison, he needed help to change the way he responded when he felt threatened or upset.
Although he could not change his history, "what you can change now is what you choose to do in the future", Judge Doyle said.
The police summary of facts said Bastion and his girlfriend began arguing as they walked past the Queenstown Memorial Hall on Christmas Eve.
It escalated to the point where he was yelling and screaming at her as she lay on the ground in the foetal position.
That prompted a passerby to tell the defendant to leave her alone, and then follow him for a short distance.
However, the defendant turned and punched the man twice in the face.
When the victim regained his feet, Bastion pushed him over, thrust his face into the pavement and punched him in the back of the head.
A second onlooker intervened, and the defendant punched him twice in the face before returning to the first victim.
He grabbed the back of the man’s head and punched him three more times with "significant force".
When the second victim again intervened, Bastion punched him twice more in the head.
The attacks on the two men lasted for about 10 minutes, despite repeated attempts by the defendant’s girlfriend to restrain him.
Judge Doyle said the defendant was unrelenting in his attacks on the two men, "innocent members of the public acting as Good Samaritans".
He was on special release conditions at the time for other offending.
Bastion admitted two charges of assault with intent to injure, as well as one of assault in a family relationship stemming from an incident at his girlfriend’s home on April 25.
The pair had argued the night before.
In the morning, when she refused an offer of a sandwich he had made, he threw it and other food at her, and sprayed her with water.
He then pushed her on to the bed, and when she got back to her feet, he grabbed her arms and pushed her against the wall, causing her to hit her head.
The assault occurred while he was on bail.
Taking account of Bastion’s early guilty pleas, expression of remorse and willingness to engage in restorative justice, Judge Doyle came to an end sentence of 16 months’ prison.
That was converted to eight months’ home detention, with conditions enabling intervention for his anger management and drug and alcohol issues.
He must pay each of his male victims $500 reparation.
GUY WILLIAMS PIJF court reporter