Judge surprised by ACC’s counselling refusal

Court House-entrancePressure will go on ACC to fund counselling for a woman who was the victim of an attempted grab-attack in New Brighton.

“I am surprised that ACC won’t fund this,” said Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave after the woman read her victim impact statement to the court.

The 37-year-old said she had lost her sense of security and the December 2014 incident had contributed to her relationship break-up. She was “freaked-out by physical contact” afterwards.

She said she was unable to get funding from ACC for the counselling she wanted.

When Judge Neave raised the issue, Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said the police officer in charge of the case would make inquiries about the matter.

Mitchum Peyroux Ashwell, 39, of Mairehau, was appearing for sentence on a charge of intimidation, which he had admitted after it was reduced from attempted kidnapping.

The court was told that he had been sitting in his car on the street outside Thompson Park on Marine Parade, on December 18, when the woman walked by.

He asked her to get in the car “for some fun” and when she refused she said he made a grab which appeared to be an attempt to get her into the car by force.

“I don’t know what would have happened if he had grabbed hold of me,” the woman said in court.

She was now nervous, even at home. “Ever since then I have been looking over my shoulder everywhere I go.”

Judge Neave said the probation service, Crown, and defence all agreed that a supervision sentence was appropriate.

There had been “an awful lot going on which had not been diagnosed” in Ashwell’s life. “A lot of parties are regretting that they did not read the signs much earlier.”

There was significant undiagnosed depression and employment difficulties.

The assessment was now that Ashwell did not pose a major risk to the community in the future.

He had welcomed the chance to do community work at the Rolleston Work Yard, which he thought might help his employment prospects.

Judge Neave released him on supervision for a year with special conditions, and ordered him to do 150 hours of community work, some of which can be converted to training. He also ordered him to make a $400 emotional harm reparations payment to the victim.



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