Home detention for bad street assault

December 15, 2016 | By More

A man who caused brain damage when he punched his victim to the ground in a street assault has been granted home detention.

Judge Jane Farish said 21-year-old Benjamin Paul Conner hit the man, who was waving his arms around, but the police allege Conner’s assault was “cowardly” and the victim had his hands up in the air indicating he was not going to fight.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane said he had watched the surveillance camera footage of the confrontation between Conner and his victim where Conner strikes him with a single blow, and the victim falls to the ground. Conner then walked away, but a co-offender struck him again while he was on the ground unconscious.

Mr Ruane said in a second or two Conner did something that was going to affect him for a number of years. He was very remorseful and had offered emotional harm reparation.

Christchurch District Court Judge Farish said Conner was a first offender and she was sentencing him on a charge of injuring with intent to injure.

Conner went to help the co-offender when a fight broke out between two groups in the early hours of August 7, in a car park off St Asaph Street in central Christchurch.

The fight petered out, but as Conner was walking away he hit the victim with a fist to the head, which was unprovoked and without warning, Judge Farish said.

The man spent five days in hospital, with a brain bleed, fractured eye socket, and one tooth sheared off.

His victim impact report said he was unable to drive, or play his representative-level sport. The brain injury had an impact on his university studies, and he suffered severe fatigue.

She said head injuries were difficult to treat, and long lasting, and Conner was fortunate the impact was not more severe, causing death.

Conner was remorseful, and surprised as to the level of violence he used. He admitted alcohol played a part, she said.

The assault was out of character, but the testosterone, and adrenaline exacerbated by alcohol led to a “moment of fury” which has blighted his life and his victim’s life, Judge Farish said.

She sentenced Conner to four months’ home detention, with special conditions for ten months’ to attend and complete rehabilitation courses for alcohol abuse and violence.

She said the letter of apology written by Conner was to go to the victim, and an emotional harm payment of $2000.

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