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Protestor who assaulted another protester during Posie Parker protest discharged without conviction

5 Apr 2024

| Author: Jamie Dierick

Sentencing Act 2002 – application for discharge without conviction – gravity of the offending – factors in mitigation – remorse – letters of support – neurodiversity – consequences of a conviction – effects on employment – travel – shame and embarrassment

New Zealand Police v [MG] [2024] NZDC 4551 per Judge Glubb.

 

MG appeared in the District Court of Auckland on one charge of common assault.

The assault took place during an event at Albert Park called “Let Women Speak” on 25 March 2025, which included Posie Parker as a speaker. At the event, MG was part of a group protesting against Parker in support of the LGBTQI+ community.

During the protest, the group pushed over a metal fence and began approaching another group that supported Parker. One of her supporters put her hands out to stop them and made contact with a woman. MG witnessed the physical contact. When the woman, who was supporting Parker, turned towards MG, MG punched her in the head three times. In explanation, MG believed the female had assaulted a fellow protestor.

MG applied for a discharge without conviction, brought under ss 106 and 107 of the Sentencing Act 2002, which state that the court must not discharge a defendant without conviction unless the direct or indirect consequences of a conviction are out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence. Judge Glubb found the offending to be moderately serious.

Judge Glubb then addressed any mitigating factors. The first considered was MG’s guilty plea, in addition to an affidavit and a letter of remorse. Judge Glubb held the letter of remorse and references in support indicated that this was out of character for MG. The second factor considered was youth, given that MG was 20 years of age. Further considerations related to rehabilitative work and an offer to pay $1,000 in emotional harm reparation.

Judge Glubb went on to consider MG’s neurodiversity as a factor in mitigation. MG has a longstanding diagnosis of autism and a recent diagnosis of ADHD. Judge Glubb acknowledged that neurodiversity can have a significant impact on the way people act and interact with the community in a personal and wider context. Judge Glubb held the gravity of the offending was mitigated by the above factors, to sit at a low level.

A conviction MG would have an impact on MG’s ability to secure employment, exacerbating the difficulties already in place in their ability to secure employment when suffering from neurodiversity. Additional consequences included difficulty in travelling and personal shame and embarrassment from a conviction.

Overall, Judge Glubb held that a conviction would be out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence.

 

Applicable principles: whether direct or indirect consequences of conviction are out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending – proportionality – circumstances of the offender – character of the offending – circumstances of the offending – seriousness of offending – impact on future opportunities – rehabilitation – remorse.

 

Held: MG was granted a discharge without conviction, but ordered to pay emotional reparation of $1,000. MG was also granted final name suppression under s 200(2).

 

Jamie Dierick is Employed Criminal Defence Barrister

 

New Zealand Police v [MG] [2024] NZDC 4551.

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