A lawyer has taken issue with police “interference” in a man’s new tenancy agreement after he was charged with assaulting two neighbours.
Defence counsel Glenn Dixon said the police actions meant that Rickie John Lorimer’s application to move into a new rental property was refused.
Lorimer, 34, was charged in December with two assaults committed during a dispute with his Indian neighbour and his father.
A residential condition was imposed as part of his bail, and that meant that when he wanted to move to another address the police had to check the new address.
In the course of checking, they contacted the new landlord and asked if they knew that Lorimer had been charged with the two assaults on neighbours. That ended the prospects of tenancy agreement with the new landlord.
“It was unreasonable for the police to have interfered in the way they did, where a man doesn’t have a long history of violence,” Mr Dixon told visiting Papakura Judge Sharon McCausland, who was sentencing Lorimer in the Christchurch District Court today.
Mr Dixon had voiced his objections at Lorimer’s next court appearance and the judge removed the residential condition on his bail, so the police would have no further input.
Lorimer has since obtained another rental agreement away from the family he was in the dispute with.
He had admitted two assault charges arising from an incident on December 10, when there was an argument in the driveway with an Indian man who lived in the flat above Lorimer’s.
The police said he pushed the man over, and then punched his father who intervened, and then punched the first victim again.
The first victim had claimed to have broken three fingers, but Judge McCausland said the police were unclear about how the fingers were broken. There was no medical evidence about the injury.
Mr Dixon said the dispute arose because Lorimer’s flat had been flooded three times by a plumbing problem in the upstairs flat, but the neighbours were not interested in dealing with it.
“That led to a strong sense of frustration and the argument developed.”
He said the neighbour claimed there had been racist comments made, but he handed the judge a letter from Lorimer’s employer saying that his employer and supervisor were both people of Indian ethnicity and he had a “fine” relationship with them, the same as he did with his other work colleagues. Lorimer denied making any racial comments.
Judge McCauslan noted that Lorimer had been willing to have a restorative justice meeting, but the victims had declined. She noted his excellent work reference, and his criminal record that showed no offending of any substance since 2001.
The charges had caused him difficulties with his accommodation, but the judge noted he now had a new rental.
She ordered Lorimer to do 120 hours of community work.