R v Schaapveld [2020] NZDC 5211

Published 16 June 2020

Sentencing — discharge without conviction — wounding with reckless disregard — house party — broken bottle — Sentencing Act 2002, s 106 — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 — Nuku v R [2012] NZCA 584 — R v Taueki [2005] 3 NZLR 372 — Zhang v R [2019] NZCA 507. The defendant appeared for sentencing having plead guilty to one charge of wounding with reckless disregard, an offence with a maximum penalty of 7 years' imprisonment. She had been an uninvited guest at a house party of the victim's sister. The defendant, who had been intoxicated, and a friend were asked by the victim to leave, and the defendant's friend responded by hitting the victim in the head with a glass bottle. The defendant then grabbed the victim's hair and arm and swung at her with a glass bottle which had become broken during the altercation. The victim sustained multiple injuries on her arm, including a four centimetre and a six centimetre laceration which required 21 stitches and further internal stitches. The victim suffered nerve damage and pain and the injuries impacted her ability to do certain activities in the course of her employment. The Judge assessed the offending as moderately serious given the injuries and the defendant's awareness, and adopted the Crown's suggested starting point of 3 years' imprisonment. Defense counsel had applied for a discharge without conviction. In determining whether this was appropriate in the circumstances, the Judge looked at the defendant's age (17 at the time of offending), the difficulties in her background which contributed to her problems with alcohol, her already-impacted employment prospects and her wish to pursue veterinary nursing. The Judge also acknowledged an element of unfairness in the fact that the friend who had initially attacked the victim had avoided the attention of the police. The defendant's participation in drug and alcohol counselling, and in volunteering in the community went some way to showing her remorse. The Judge deemed that the consequences for the defendant's future outweighed the gravity of the offending and discharged the defendant without conviction. An order was made for emotional harm reparation of $700; $350 to be paid in a lump sum and a further $350 to be paid in $5 installments to be reviewed if the defendant found employment. Judgment Date: 20 March 2020