Violent offender suffering anxiety from earlier shooting

Law-books01A man shot in an armed incident many years ago has now been convicted on seven charges involving assaults and threats.

The man, now aged in his 30s, has been found guilty of seven charges in a reserved decision delivered by Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish after a trial before a judge-alone.

The man has name suppression, which will be reviewed at his sentencing on December 18, when the defence will present material relating to his psychiatric state, and there will be updated impact statements from his victims.

Other suppression orders relating particularly to the victims mean reporting of the case is limited, but the man was today convicted of assaulting a woman, a child, and a man and of making threats to kill the man and threats to the family of a police officer who attended the incident.

The woman involved told the trial she had been punched several times and her nose had been “popped” – broken.

Judge Farish found the farm worker not guilty on one charge of assaulting the child, and one of assaulting the man with intent to injure for biting. The accused had been severely dealt to by the man in the course of the incident in rural North Canterbury on January 5.

She rejected the accused’s claim that the woman had “walked into his fist” as he stood in a fighting stance, and that he had not been intending to harm the man at a time when the steak knife he was holding cut or scratched his cheek.

Defence counsel Michael Starling said that before the trial he had advised the man that what he was going to say in evidence did not amount to a defence.

The man recovered from the earlier shooting and was sentenced to a long jail term arising from the incident, but it had left the man with an anxiety condition.

Mr Starling said: “He believes that the anxiety condition, plus the stress placed on him, along with the alcohol that triggered this, effectively gave him some sort of defence or mitigation in terms of what happened.”

The judge checked with the official who has been monitoring the man’s electronically monitored bail before allowing him bail pending sentence. The official said the man had been doing well on monitored bail.

However, he was also sometimes struggling with the anxiety issues. On one occasion, he had got permission to go shopping and had set out but had to turn back before he got there because of his anxiety.

The man was convicted of burglary, kidnapping, and firearms-related charges arising from the earlier incident. He fired two shots during the incident.

His victims from the latest assaults have said they do not want him returned to prison.

After hearing submissions today, Judge Farish said that possibly the man was not as violent as she thought after reading his criminal record. The man told the court he was trying to get psychological treatment but there was a long waiting list.

The judge said she was not making promises, just keeping the door open. She might still send him to prison at his sentencing in December.

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