Paul Henry assault accused has zero contrition and may get off


…[T]he court heard from Mr Henry who said he was suddenly confronted by a screaming mob of semi-deranged people as he was on the way to attend a charity lunch.

“It was very threatening, extraordinarily threatening,” he said.

“That’s the huge issue for me. It was very aggressive. A couple of them were screaming at me right in my face, literally just standing there right in my face. So the options were reducing and it felt like it was becoming more and more inflamed.”

Henry said he could not pick out exactly what was being said to him but thought he heard a chant of “mouthpiece of the rich”.

Then as he was shepherded away, he was allegedly attacked.

“From behind, someone spat on me and I was pushed. For me that was the final straw. People have a right to protest and expression is very important and should be upheld. But this was way beyond where people should go,” Henry said.

“The thing I mostly remember was being spat on, which is just such a vile thing to do.”

He told the court he did not want to show the impact the incident had on him.

“There’s a fair amount of bravado involved when you’re a male and I was very conscious I didn’t want people to see I was harassed or that there was an emotional strain on me but the reality is it’s a very frightening situation, something like that,” he said.

The transcript of Chavez’s initial police interview was read to the court this morning.

Though he would not answer all questions, Chavez voiced some strong opinions about Henry, whom he described as “racist”.

“If Paul Henry says I [shoulder-charged him] you can’t believe him because he’s a liar and a racist … just turn on the TV,” he said.

In the interview, the officer in charge of the case, Sergeant David Mayes, suggested Chavez had taken the opportunity to “teach [Henry] a lesson”.

“What I say is that if he’s going to walk on the street with his bigotry and making fun of people, that’s going to happen,” Mr Chavez replied.

In Mr Chavez’s world, if you label someone a liar and a racist, this justifies assaulting them. ? I doubt he sees the irony. ? ?But the court case could actually end up going his way.

Chavez, …?wearing a hoodie emblazoned with “anti-capitalist”, was allegedly at a protest outside Prime Minister John Key’s post-Budget speech at Auckland’s SkyCity events centre on May 22.

The court heard evidence today that the defendant launched himself at Mr Henry and spat at him on the neck.

After four prosecution witnesses – including the veteran TV presenter, police and security – Chavez decided not to give or call evidence.

His lawyer Luke Wilson said all identification evidence should be ruled inadmissible by Judge David Sharp because police did not follow formal procedure using photo montages, as required by law.

The judge said he had wanted to give a verdict at the end of today’s hearing but adjourned the matter for further written argument on the application of the specific section of the Evidence Act.

It was recorded. ?There were witnesses. ?And Paul Henry himself can attest as to what happened. ?In spite of all that, the fact that some archaic part of the Evidence Act hasn’t been adhered to, Mr Chavez may find himself free to spit on anyone else he considers a liar or a racist.


– Rob Kidd, A newspaper