Lawyer punched at the Court House

An offender punched a duty lawyer at the Christchurch Court House when he was told he was too drunk to appear in court.

The offender, 47-year-old Stephen Andrew Vincent, pleaded guilty to charges of misusing a telephone and assaulting the defence lawyer, who was left with a cut and bruised face and broken spectacles.

Vincent, of Woolston, was remanded on bail to December 8 for a pre-sentence report and sentencing.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll asked for a report assessing his suitability for home or community detention. Vincent is already on supervision.

The police said the victim was often at the Court House where he is available as a duty lawyer, providing legal advice to people attending court.

At 11.20am on September 11, Vincent was in an interview room with the lawyer who was giving him legal advice while they sat at a small table.

Vincent was drunk and smelt strongly of liquor. Because of his state, the lawyer told him that he did not think he was fit to appear in court.

Vincent stood up and punched the lawyer in the side of his head, knocking him off his chair and onto the floor. The lawyer feared a further assault and got up and left the room.

The lawyer received small cuts and bruising to his face, and his glasses were broken.

Vincent pleaded guilty today after the police reduced the charge to assault, from assault with intent to injure.


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