Man found guilty of wounding partner

Jury rejects woman's bid to alter story.

Jury rejects woman's bid to alter story.

Gisborne Courthouse. File picture

A CASE in which a man was accused of cutting through his partner’s ear with a pair of scissors provided a “clear view” of domestic abuse in New Zealand, a prosecutor told a jury in Gisborne District Court.

The case was brought to trial after the accused John Kennedy Moon, 34, denied charges and the woman recanted a statement she made to police soon after the alleged incident in the early hours of Christmas Day 2015.

But the jury was not persuaded by the woman’s alternative explanations for how she came to be wounded and bruised that day.

The majority of them rejected her evidence from the witness box as to how her ear was cut.

She said in evidence the 3cm full thickness cut occurred when she gashed her ear open after accidentally falling in a drunken stupor on to a bathroom fitting.

It took about three hours for the jury to reach a majority decision that her initial account in the police statement was the truth.

Moon was found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm — a three strikes offence.

On other lesser charges arising out of the incident, the jury took two hours to find Moon guilty.

Those charges were two counts of assault with intent to injure, by kicking and choking the woman; injuring with intent to injure, by punching her face and smashing it into a floor; and a charge of threatening to kill.

Moon was remanded in custody for sentence on May 26.

His conviction for the wounding charge resulted in his first “three strikes” warning. Although his previous history included many relevant prior convictions, none had been for three strikes offences.

In closing the Crown case, prosecutor Clayton Walker said any juror who had not previously had insight into domestic violence in this country or the cycle of abuse involved, would now have a clear view.

Episodes of violence and reconciliation

This couple’s relationship was punctuated by episodes of violence and reconciliation, as evidenced by Moon’s criminal history that the Crown was allowed to produce in support of its case that this was another episode in a series spanning at least the past decade.

The presence of others did not deter Moon from violence, Mr Walker said. In 2013 he attacked the woman in public on an afternoon Interislander ferry trip.

On that occasion, as was often the case, the pair had been drinking and he accused her of cheating.

He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the front of the ferry. He punched her in the face, gashing her lip, then told police she fell while intoxicated.

Mr Walker said the woman’s refusal to back her initial statement during this trial for the latest matters did not mean she did not care about what happened to her. It was a function of the cycle of abuse in which she was trapped.

There were numerous emotions at play — love, hate, jealousy, control, fear and misguided loyalty.

Sometimes all were at work together. There was no easy solution but the way the witness tried to deal with it in court was not the answer.

The only person who had shown any backbone during the incident was a teenager at the scene who saw some of it and phoned police, Mr Walker said. So fed up with the recurring violence, at the time she began throwing each of the pair’s belongings out of the house.

Her evidence, in which she said she saw Moon smashing the woman’s head into the floor and beating her in the hallway, could be trusted.

Although she did not witness Moon cutting the woman’s ear, she saw the pair in the bathroom and a small pair of scissors. There was blood everywhere, she said in evidence.

Contention challenged

Defence counsel Mark Sceats challenged the Crown’s contention that the charges heard in this trial were another similar chapter or continuation of the pattern.

Moon had admitted all those earlier offences. His denial of these alleged charges was significant, Mr Sceats said.

None of the scissors taken by police from the house for forensic testing showed any signs of blood. None fitted the description of the pair seen by an independent teenage witness who gave evidence.

That witness, despite saying she was in a room just across a hall, had not heard any screaming coming from the bathroom in which Moon was alleged to have cut through the woman’s ear.

If Moon had, as alleged by the Crown, cut through the woman’s ear, she would have been jumping around and screaming out, Mr Sceats said.

At the time of her initial statement to police in which she alleged the offences, the woman had been drinking, had smoked cannabis and had very little sleep. She had also been injured after her accident in the bathroom.

She had told a variety of versions since, the one in court likely to be the truest, most accurate account, Mr Sceats said.

If this incident was part of pattern in Moon’s offending, it would follow that as in the past he would have admitted it, Mr Sceats said.

At one point during the trial some of Moon’s supporters brought several children ranging in age from preschoolers to teenagers into the courtroom.

Judge Warren Cathcart said it was inappropriate and directed children could not be present.

A CASE in which a man was accused of cutting through his partner’s ear with a pair of scissors provided a “clear view” of domestic abuse in New Zealand, a prosecutor told a jury in Gisborne District Court.

The case was brought to trial after the accused John Kennedy Moon, 34, denied charges and the woman recanted a statement she made to police soon after the alleged incident in the early hours of Christmas Day 2015.

But the jury was not persuaded by the woman’s alternative explanations for how she came to be wounded and bruised that day.

The majority of them rejected her evidence from the witness box as to how her ear was cut.

She said in evidence the 3cm full thickness cut occurred when she gashed her ear open after accidentally falling in a drunken stupor on to a bathroom fitting.

It took about three hours for the jury to reach a majority decision that her initial account in the police statement was the truth.

Moon was found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm — a three strikes offence.

On other lesser charges arising out of the incident, the jury took two hours to find Moon guilty.

Those charges were two counts of assault with intent to injure, by kicking and choking the woman; injuring with intent to injure, by punching her face and smashing it into a floor; and a charge of threatening to kill.

Moon was remanded in custody for sentence on May 26.

His conviction for the wounding charge resulted in his first “three strikes” warning. Although his previous history included many relevant prior convictions, none had been for three strikes offences.

In closing the Crown case, prosecutor Clayton Walker said any juror who had not previously had insight into domestic violence in this country or the cycle of abuse involved, would now have a clear view.

Episodes of violence and reconciliation

This couple’s relationship was punctuated by episodes of violence and reconciliation, as evidenced by Moon’s criminal history that the Crown was allowed to produce in support of its case that this was another episode in a series spanning at least the past decade.

The presence of others did not deter Moon from violence, Mr Walker said. In 2013 he attacked the woman in public on an afternoon Interislander ferry trip.

On that occasion, as was often the case, the pair had been drinking and he accused her of cheating.

He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the front of the ferry. He punched her in the face, gashing her lip, then told police she fell while intoxicated.

Mr Walker said the woman’s refusal to back her initial statement during this trial for the latest matters did not mean she did not care about what happened to her. It was a function of the cycle of abuse in which she was trapped.

There were numerous emotions at play — love, hate, jealousy, control, fear and misguided loyalty.

Sometimes all were at work together. There was no easy solution but the way the witness tried to deal with it in court was not the answer.

The only person who had shown any backbone during the incident was a teenager at the scene who saw some of it and phoned police, Mr Walker said. So fed up with the recurring violence, at the time she began throwing each of the pair’s belongings out of the house.

Her evidence, in which she said she saw Moon smashing the woman’s head into the floor and beating her in the hallway, could be trusted.

Although she did not witness Moon cutting the woman’s ear, she saw the pair in the bathroom and a small pair of scissors. There was blood everywhere, she said in evidence.

Contention challenged

Defence counsel Mark Sceats challenged the Crown’s contention that the charges heard in this trial were another similar chapter or continuation of the pattern.

Moon had admitted all those earlier offences. His denial of these alleged charges was significant, Mr Sceats said.

None of the scissors taken by police from the house for forensic testing showed any signs of blood. None fitted the description of the pair seen by an independent teenage witness who gave evidence.

That witness, despite saying she was in a room just across a hall, had not heard any screaming coming from the bathroom in which Moon was alleged to have cut through the woman’s ear.

If Moon had, as alleged by the Crown, cut through the woman’s ear, she would have been jumping around and screaming out, Mr Sceats said.

At the time of her initial statement to police in which she alleged the offences, the woman had been drinking, had smoked cannabis and had very little sleep. She had also been injured after her accident in the bathroom.

She had told a variety of versions since, the one in court likely to be the truest, most accurate account, Mr Sceats said.

If this incident was part of pattern in Moon’s offending, it would follow that as in the past he would have admitted it, Mr Sceats said.

At one point during the trial some of Moon’s supporters brought several children ranging in age from preschoolers to teenagers into the courtroom.

Judge Warren Cathcart said it was inappropriate and directed children could not be present.

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