Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Woman sentenced over attack on paraplegic


Woman sentenced over attack on paraplegic
Tue, 03 Feb 2009 8:37p.m.

A paraplegic was in Tauranga District Court today to support a woman who hit him several times with his wheelchair.

Justine Moana Niwa, 33, pleaded guilty before Judge Louis Bidois to charges of assault with a blunt instrument and assaulting police.

The sickness beneficiary, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 120 hours community work for the wheelchair attack. Another 60 hours for biting a constable is to be served concurrently.

Asked by the judge if he wanted reparation to be paid, the partly paralysed victim in the public gallery shook his head.

For Niwa, lawyer Ned Burke said she had taken "all the steps that can be expected" to deal with the causes of her offending and was prepared to get some counselling.

On the morning of the assaults she had taken some sleeping tablets as well as drunk alcohol "which pushed her over the edge", he said.

Niwa did not remember what had happened but had taken responsibility after hearing what whanau of the victim - her former partner - had to say.

Sergeant Mark Graham told the court Niwa had been ordered to leave the Tauranga address about 1.50pm on December 29 after upsetting the man's family.

An argument escalated to a point where Niwa pushed the man out of his wheelchair and then hit him repeatedly over head with it.

Mr Graham said police were called and as a constable tried to arrest Niwa she bit him on the arm before being restrained and arrested.

"You were so worked up you had lost your self control," Judge Bidois said today. "At the time it would have been frightening for him."

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