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Women assaulted, policeman spat on


Reparations ordered for spitting

A Masterton man has been ordered to pay emotional harm reparations to a police officer who he spat on after a fight at a New Year’s Eve gathering which a judge has described as sounding like a “party from hell”.

Justin Harmon, 28, was Wednesday sentenced in Masterton District Court on four charges, which included the assault of 19-year-old Narelle Karaitiana who soon after died from an unrelated medical condition.

On December 31, 2017, Harmon had been drinking at a Fergusson St party, which Karaitiana and another female victim were also at.

Reading from the police summary of facts, prosecutor Tom Andrews said Harmon verbally abused and then punched the victim with a closed fist.

This prompted “a larger fight” to break out.

Karaitiana intervened on the defendant’s behalf and struck the victim on the back of the head.

“The two women then wrestled on the ground and scratched each other.”

The women stopped fighting, and Harmon grabbed the victim’s hair and dragged her across the ground.

Karaitiana intervened again, but this time to stop Harmon from assaulting the other woman.

“The defendant punched Karaitiana in the face, the force of the blow caused her to fall to the ground.”

The fight continued, with the women defending themselves against Harmon, and soon after the police arrived.

When police attempted to arrest Harmon, he challenged them to a fight and verbally abused the officers.

Police restrained him, and he spat at a constable.

Andrews said the constable received “saliva all over his face and in his mouth”.

The defendant then had to be “dragged to the patrol vehicle”.

Both women received injuries – the first victim suffered a black eye and bruised limbs, while Karaitiana was found to be suffering from post-concussion syndrome when she underwent a CT scan 10 days after the fight.

Defence lawyer Virginia Pearson said Harmon was a recently-married “family man” and had just one “historical” conviction that was not relevant to his recent offending.

She said alcohol had been a factor and “things had got out of hand”.

Pearson said others involved in the altercation could be responsible for some of the injuries incurred.

Harmon pleaded guilty to charges of resisting and assaulting police, male assaults female, and assault with intent to injure.

Judge Bill Hastings said the event at which the fight took place “sounds like the New Year’s party from hell”.

Hastings said there had been a 12-year gap in Harmon’s offending, and he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to amended charges.

Harmon was sentenced to 100 hours community work, six months supervision which included undergoing appropriate rehabilitation programmes, and ordered to pay $200 to the constable he spat at.

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