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‘Road rage’ victim still suffering

Solway assaulter gets 11 months home detention
Confined to local address

The man responsible for a road rage assault outside The Highwayman Motel in High St, Solway last year, which left the 62-year-old victim with a brain injury, was sentenced to 11 months of home detention on Wednesday afternoon.

Lee Ewe, 31, of Masterton, had earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of wounding with reckless disregard, a charge which carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

Judge Peter Butler said the assault occurred on May 29 last year after the victim’s car crashed into the back of Ewe’s along State Highway 2, causing minor damage.

Ewe punched the victim in the head prompting him to fall to the ground and suffer serious head injuries.

“This was a road rage incident following a collision between [the victim’s] vehicle and yours,” the judge said. “It certainly made you angry, but it was a minor traffic collision and it was not the operative cause of what happened.”

The victim was flown to Wellington Hospital in a serious condition and spent time in the intensive care unit.

Butler said he was influenced by a victim impact statement from the victim’s brother, which indicated his position had not improved and was not likely to.

“What this guy did to my brother not only affected him, it affected us too,” it read.

The victim had been in hospital for some time after the event and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

While he was able to live alone now, his brother was concerned he wasn’t looking after himself and that they hadn’t been able to see each other during the lockdown.

Both the Crown prosecutor Nicole Burt and Ewe’s lawyer, Alwyn O’Connor, made submissions via phone.

O’Connor said his client should be credited for “self-referred efforts” to rehabilitate and engage with counselling services.

He said Ewe’s partner of 10 years was proud of the work he had done to “become a better man and role model to their children”.

Butler acknowledged this and offered a small discount, commending him for taking steps towards his own rehabilitation.

He sentenced Ewe to 11-months home detention to be served at a Masterton address.

Ewe was also ordered to undertake any counselling and drug and alcohol assessments as directed by probation.

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