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Discharge offer undermined by failure: judge

A Queenstown man’s request for release without a conviction was undermined by his failure to disclose serious drug convictions in Australia, a judge has heard.

The claim of unemployed Joshua Paul Nock (32) was heard by Judge Russell Walker in Queenstown District Court on Tuesday.

Nock changed his plea and admitted a charge of assault in a domestic relationship, in Queenstown on November 2 last year, after the first day of a judge-alone trial last month.

Barrister Kieran Tohill said the defendant had drug-related convictions in Australia seven years ago, for which he was sentenced to prison.

However, the defendant maintained that it was a suspended sentence and that he “did not set foot in jail”.

He was also convicted in New Zealand of driving with suspension.

The accused was a builder and tiler but was awaiting surgery for a serious back injury which meant he was unlikely to return to either of those trades, said Mr Tohill.

However, if the operation was successful, he hoped to start a new career either in the New Zealand Defense Force, the police or as a social worker.

A conviction was likely to prevent him from entering one of these professions.

It would also prevent him from traveling freely in Australia, where he had grown up and spent most of his adult life.

Judge Walker said Nock’s refusal to disclose his Queensland convictions was concerning.

The defendant described them in a written affidavit as minor matters, and their seriousness only came to light after police requested more information through Interpol.

No independent evidence had been adduced showing that the consequences of a conviction would be worse than those already suffered by the defendant as a result of his previous convictions.

Therefore, there were no grounds for release without conviction and the judge denied the request.

Yesterday’s hearing followed last month’s partly heard trial, in which the court heard evidence of an incident of domestic violence in Nock and his partner’s home.

A verbal argument the night before resumed hours later while they were in bed and escalated to the point where Nock pushed the complainant onto their bed, put his hands on her neck and shook her.

After getting off her, he pushed her against the wall, then threw her to the ground.

Nock also slapped his partner’s face during the incident.

Police have agreed to drop a charge of intentional harm if the defendant admits to the assault as part of a domestic relationship charge.

At sentencing, Judge Walker said he viewed with suspicion the defendant’s expression of remorse over the November incident.

He was surprised that the defendant did not face a new charge stemming from his attempted coercion of the complainant before trial, when he urged her to refuse to testify.

He found Nock guilty and sentenced him to 75 hours of community service and 12 months of supervision to allow intervention for his addiction and violence issues.

Also found guilty and sentenced by Judge Walker on Tuesday, after a trial by judge alone, was:

• Daniel William Bicknell (40), plasterer, from Queenstown, intimidation, January 22, Queenstown, $500 fine, $130 court costs.