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Community work for assaults, damage


A former Queenstown builder was told by a district court judge on Monday that if he had a “violence button” he needed to deactivate it, quickly.

Justin Peter Rakena (34), of Lower Shotover, had earlier admitted one Crimes Act assault and a summary offences assault against his ex-partner, another summary offences assault against his neighbour, and intentionally damaging two walls, all on August 24.

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In the Queenstown District Court, Judge Russell Walker said Rakena, who has since relocated to Christchurch, was at a residential property and had been drinking.

About 6pm he said he wanted to leave in his vehicle, but while he was in the shower his former partner removed the keys from his vehicle and hid them.

Rakena became agitated when he could not find the keys and then started verbally abusing his ex-partner in front of his neighbour and a child at the property.

The child became upset and went into a bedroom, followed by the two women.

Rakena also followed and pushed his neighbour with one hand, causing her to fall on to an oil heater.

His ex-partner stood between Rakena and the first victim, but he grabbed her by the shoulders with both hands, pulled her out of the room and threw her against the back of a couch, causing her to fall to the floor.

Others present intervened and removed Rakena from the property.

On his way out he punched a hole in a wall and a door.

Judge Walker said Rakena had 12 prior convictions, five of which were for drink-driving, and pointed out his former partner may well have saved him from a prison sentence had he been caught driving drunk again.

He had since stopped drinking and been attending counselling, but told a report writer his ex-partner had been pushing his “buttons” that afternoon.

“You shouldn’t have a violence button,” Judge Walker said.

“If you do, it needs to be deactivated, and quickly.

“The bottom line is that you need to stay sober.”

For the Crimes Act assault Rakena was sentenced to 75 hours’ community work and 12 months’ supervision, with special conditions.

On the two summary offences assaults and intentional damage charges he was convicted and discharged.

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