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Punch causes multiple jaw fractures

A Brazilian tiler who shattered a man’s jaw with a single punch faces deportation after his bid for release without conviction failed in Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Matheus Portela Chaves (25) was drinking with friends in the resort’s CBD at around 11.30pm on June 2 when he tried to speak to a woman in Searle Lane.

When he persisted in the approach as she repeatedly asked him to leave her alone, one of her male companions intervened.

After an exchange of words, the victim pushed the accused in the chest with both hands.

Portela Chaves punched the victim hard in the face, knocking him to the sidewalk, then returned to his associates at Camp St.

The victim was taken to Lakes District Hospital and then to Dunedin Hospital, where three titanium plates and 13 screws were inserted into his jaw during a four-hour operation to repair multiple fractures .

Portela Chaves was charged with assault with intent to injure, and the case went to judge alone in December, where his self-defense argument was dismissed.

Attorney Bryony Shackell said the defendant had a clean criminal record and felt “significant regret and shock” at his actions.

He had been unable to work for the past four months because a visa application had been suspended and was relying on his partner of the past four months for financial support.

A deportation liability notice would follow a conviction and he would be forced to leave his partner and children behind in New Zealand.

Judge Russell Walker pointed out that the defendant had a “means of escape” after the victim initiated the physical altercation, but only chose to leave the scene after delivering a “disproportionate response”.

Although there was a “real and significant risk” of deportation, the grounds for a non-conviction dismissal were not met.

He found Portela Chaves guilty and sentenced him to 150 hours of community service and 12 months of supervision.