Man assaulted worker, thought he was peeping

Gisborne Courthouse. File picture by Rebecca Grunwell

A FARM manager was lucky to have the means to make an emotional harm payment to a foreign worker he assaulted, a judge told him.

Others on similar charges, without the means to pay, usually faced starting points of imprisonment, Judge Warren Cathcart said.

David Bruce Morrison, 42, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to injure. He was ordered to pay $3000 to the victim, with nine months supervision and 150 hours community work.

A Danish tourist staying on the Tiniroto farm Morrison managed was still suffering flashbacks and the effects of an injury Morrison inflicted to his nose, the court heard.

He was a student of medicinal chemistry and was now finding it difficult to tolerate wearing glasses, which were necessary on a daily basis.

Summarising the incident, Judge Cathcart said the man and another Danish visitor were staying in accommodation about 3km from the homestead. There was no internet access at those quarters but it was routine for visitors at the quarters to go to the farm house or its grounds to access wifi.

About a week after arriving at the farm, the visitor went to the homestead on a quad bike about 10pm one night. He wanted to get an update on the Olympics and contact his girlfriend overseas.

He parked away from the house and walked to within the wifi zone of the grounds. He was talking with his girlfriend when Morrison came out of the house, shouting and swearing, and told him to get off the property.

Morrison thought the man had been peering in windows at his wife. The man left as instructed and went back to the visitors’ quarters.

After the man went to bed, Morrison turned up. He knocked on the door, which the man answered — expecting an apology.

Instead Morrison grabbed him by the throat, pushed him up against a wall, punched him more than once and told him to never do that again. The man said he was sorry.

Morrison pushed him on to a pool table, held him by the throat and brandished a deer antler at him saying, “I might just cut your throat”.

Morrison lifted the man up by the throat, shoved him, punched him in the face and pushed him towards the door, telling him to get out.

When the man asked to get his belongings, Morrison first said no, then gave him two minutes.

The other worker, woken by the fracas, saw his room-mate holding a towel with blood on it up to his face. Morrison told the second man to go back to bed.

The complainant packed as much of his gear as he could but when Morrison told him he had only 30 seconds left, he was so scared he fled immediately, leaving some of his belongings behind. Morrison slapped him on the back of the head as he passed by.

The man got in his vehicle and sped from the property, terrified. He went to a Gisborne motel and phoned police.

He was later treated at Gisborne Hospital for a displaced broken nose and a chipped tooth.

Counsel Doug Rishworth endorsed the sentence recommended by the probation service. Although a serious matter, his client’s actions were not premeditated. The ongoing effect of the injury was not foreseeable, he said.

It was not known whether Morrison’s perceptions as to his wife’s vulnerability that night were right or wrong.

As Morrison lived about 40 minutes from town, supervision and community work — which he could undertake at the same time — would require much more effort and impact on him than for someone who lived in Gisborne.

It was accepted anger management was necessary. There was an element of anger still bubbling away, Mr Rishworth said.

Judge Cathcart said it was with some reluctance, because of the gravity of the offence, that he was imposing this sentence.

An assault like this would normally warrant a starting point of imprisonment. Morrison was lucky the Crown had taken the view it had.

He accepted Morrison now regretted his actions and that there were unusual circumstances. He noted Morrison maintained his view about the man’s intentions.

A FARM manager was lucky to have the means to make an emotional harm payment to a foreign worker he assaulted, a judge told him.

Others on similar charges, without the means to pay, usually faced starting points of imprisonment, Judge Warren Cathcart said.

David Bruce Morrison, 42, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to injure. He was ordered to pay $3000 to the victim, with nine months supervision and 150 hours community work.

A Danish tourist staying on the Tiniroto farm Morrison managed was still suffering flashbacks and the effects of an injury Morrison inflicted to his nose, the court heard.

He was a student of medicinal chemistry and was now finding it difficult to tolerate wearing glasses, which were necessary on a daily basis.

Summarising the incident, Judge Cathcart said the man and another Danish visitor were staying in accommodation about 3km from the homestead. There was no internet access at those quarters but it was routine for visitors at the quarters to go to the farm house or its grounds to access wifi.

About a week after arriving at the farm, the visitor went to the homestead on a quad bike about 10pm one night. He wanted to get an update on the Olympics and contact his girlfriend overseas.

He parked away from the house and walked to within the wifi zone of the grounds. He was talking with his girlfriend when Morrison came out of the house, shouting and swearing, and told him to get off the property.

Morrison thought the man had been peering in windows at his wife. The man left as instructed and went back to the visitors’ quarters.

After the man went to bed, Morrison turned up. He knocked on the door, which the man answered — expecting an apology.

Instead Morrison grabbed him by the throat, pushed him up against a wall, punched him more than once and told him to never do that again. The man said he was sorry.

Morrison pushed him on to a pool table, held him by the throat and brandished a deer antler at him saying, “I might just cut your throat”.

Morrison lifted the man up by the throat, shoved him, punched him in the face and pushed him towards the door, telling him to get out.

When the man asked to get his belongings, Morrison first said no, then gave him two minutes.

The other worker, woken by the fracas, saw his room-mate holding a towel with blood on it up to his face. Morrison told the second man to go back to bed.

The complainant packed as much of his gear as he could but when Morrison told him he had only 30 seconds left, he was so scared he fled immediately, leaving some of his belongings behind. Morrison slapped him on the back of the head as he passed by.

The man got in his vehicle and sped from the property, terrified. He went to a Gisborne motel and phoned police.

He was later treated at Gisborne Hospital for a displaced broken nose and a chipped tooth.

Counsel Doug Rishworth endorsed the sentence recommended by the probation service. Although a serious matter, his client’s actions were not premeditated. The ongoing effect of the injury was not foreseeable, he said.

It was not known whether Morrison’s perceptions as to his wife’s vulnerability that night were right or wrong.

As Morrison lived about 40 minutes from town, supervision and community work — which he could undertake at the same time — would require much more effort and impact on him than for someone who lived in Gisborne.

It was accepted anger management was necessary. There was an element of anger still bubbling away, Mr Rishworth said.

Judge Cathcart said it was with some reluctance, because of the gravity of the offence, that he was imposing this sentence.

An assault like this would normally warrant a starting point of imprisonment. Morrison was lucky the Crown had taken the view it had.

He accepted Morrison now regretted his actions and that there were unusual circumstances. He noted Morrison maintained his view about the man’s intentions.

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