Two ‘strangulation’ cases before Christchurch courts

A week after a new law about strangulation came into force, two cases are already before the Christchurch Courts.

The offence was set up after Parliament passed the Family Violence Amendment Act, establishing an offence under the Crimes Act, which carries a seven-year maximum jail term penalty.

There was previously no separate offence for strangulation but it was treated as an assault, or an aggravating feature on an assault charge.

The new law came into effect on December 3, and the first prosecution nationally appeared that day with a 21-year-old Counties Manukau man being charged in the Auckland District Court.

The first case in Christchurch appeared in court on Friday when a 31-year-old man, Shadon John Woodstock, was remanded in custody over the weekend for a lawyer to be assigned and prepare a bail application.

He was charged with threatening to kill a woman, and “intentionally impeding her normal breathing by applying pressure to her throat and neck”. He has entered no pleas.

Assigned lawyer Karen Chalmers put forward the bail application for the Waltham man, but the case had to be called before Judge Paul Kellar four times while checks were made on a proposed bail address and the views of the occupants and the alleged victim.

Woodstock, a fisheries worker, indicated he planned to defend the charges though he has not yet formally entered pleas.

Police opposed bail, and Judge Kellar heard submissions and then decided he must remain in custody and remanded him for another appearance on December 21.

The police alleged that offending took place on Friday, but in the meantime, a Darfield man, aged 28, Benjamin James Guthrie Breading, was charged with assaulting a woman in November and also strangulation under the new law on Saturday.

Police did not oppose the Breading’s release and Judge Kellar remanded him on bail to appear again on January 15. He did not enter pleas. He will be allowed to live at Darfield but has been ordered to stay at an address away from the woman he allegedly assaulted.