Te Papa staffer in domestic assault case takes refuge behind an overseas travel sob story

The head of the Women’s Refuge, Heather Henare, has cause to be upset today as she rails against a decision in Wellington District Court.

Her dander is up after police did not oppose the discharge of a defendant without conviction, which Judge Bruce Davidson granted.

And so Noel James Osborne, 47, ducked any penalty despite his involvement in what is reported to have been a “degrading” assault on his pregnant former partner.

Stuff reports –

Osborne, appearing in Wellington District Court yesterday, had previously pleaded guilty to common domestic assault.

Henare complains that the discharge without conviction effectively says it is OK to break the law if you happen to be in a privileged position.

The judge, of course, was given a good sob story by the defence lawyer.

The sob story was that a conviction would hamper his international travel for the museum.

But a conviction hampers the international travel of anyone who has committed an offence.

What’s so bloody special about a museum collection manager?

Actually, the hacks at Stuff have sniffed into the matter and tell us about a video on Te Papa’s website.

On the video, this bloke presents the museum’s collection of taiaha and , it seems, says he is a carver.

But it’s the way he treated his former partner and the way the judge treated him that matters here.

The court report says –

Prosecutor Blair Piper described the attack as quite a degrading act. “It does have emotional ramifications beyond the physical. There’s simply no excuse for taking that action against a woman who was pregnant.”

But Osborne successfully argued that the effects of a conviction outweighed the gravity of the offending.

So what happened?

He had been drinking before visiting at his former partner’s house in Otaki on April 16 when he held her down by her hair, rubbed water from the toilet in her face and told her to “eat shit”, according to a police summary.

The struggle between them caused a door to hit their 2 1/2-year-old daughter in the face, causing a small nose bleed.

There’s more to the case than just this, of course, as can be seen from the Stuff report.

The point is that Osborne’s lawyer, Chris Pointer, said a conviction for domestic assault could prevent his client from entering some countries as part of his museum work.

“This will have a … severe effect on Mr Osborne’s ability to do his job.”

He should have thought of that before he did what he did.

Oh, and Alf loved the next bit of the defence case.

A conviction would also “severely impact on his mana”.

But how much mana remains after you have admitted this sort of domestic assault?

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