Judge effectively gives men permission to violently attack women

Women across New Zealand should be very concerned that a man who smashed a woman’s eye socket in what was a violent, unprovoked attack has been let off without conviction.

Women’s Rights Party Leader Jill Ovens says this sends a chilling message to women in a country where male violence against women is endemic and is so often diminished in its severity and impact on the victim.

The man was discharged without conviction in the Auckland District Court yesterday [Monday, 4 March] after the Judge said the offending was “moderately” serious and a conviction would make it difficult for the man to find employment.

He also accepted that the man was “neurodiverse”.

Ms Ovens says what happened to the attacker’s victim, Judith Hobson, was not a moderate injury and from the victim’s own account in today’s NZ Herald, when she sought medical attention some time after the incident, the diagnosis was “concussion” which has had long-lasting physical and mental effects.

“We have all seen the video footage. As Judith staggered forward after being hit from behind her head, he planted her with vicious punches. You could see the anger written all over his face.

The attacker’s victim told the Court she had suffered ever since, she had barely left her house, she could not sleep without medication, and her “happy-go-lucky” nature had disappeared.

“Any loud noise causes me severe stress and uncharacteristic behaviours – anger and distress,” she said.

Ms Ovens was also among 150-200 women at the “Let Women Speak” event on 25 March last year when thousands of angry protestors stormed the barricades screaming abuse at the mostly older women, and creating pandemonium with extremely loud noise makers.

“You have to wonder whether this man, and many others who were there, turned up because they were looking for a fight. I saw neo-Nazis there among the so-called ‘trans rights activists’ and I am pretty sure they don’t give a stuff about trans rights. Nor were they there to support us. They were there to beat up on us.”

“I could see how the violence against us was escalating and someone would get seriously hurt.”

The man has also been granted permanent name suppression, while the NZ Herald named his victim, who has previously been referred to as “Emily” to preserve her anonymity as she recovers from her trauma.

Ms Ovens says there is no justice in revictimising the attacker’s victim by plastering her name all over the media while he gets to hide to preserve his employment prospects.

“I have news for this Judge. Everyone with a conviction has difficulty getting a job, especially if they do jail time for what is a violent offence. I have to wonder whether, had the attacker been Māori, and not of part of a violent protest against women ignored by the Police at the time, would he have been given a custodial sentence?”

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