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King hit victim was MC at assailant's wedding

It started off as two good mates - one of whom was the MC at the other's wedding - giving each other a light-hearted ribbing.

 

It started off as two good mates - one of whom was the MC at the other's wedding - giving each other a light-hearted ribbing.

But then things turned nasty, an unexpected punch was thrown, and teeth were smashed out on a footpath.

It was an incident on the streets of downtown Hamilton in the early hours of August 1 last year that led to charges of assault with intent to injure and injuring with intent to injure for Hamilton man Adam Fairley - and a journey through the legal system that ended with his sentencing in the Hamilton District Court on Tuesday.

Fairley, 28, was sentenced to 100 hours of community work, nine months of supervision, and ordered to pay $1200 in reparation to his victim and now former friend.

The victim was once a close friend who had been the MC at Fairley's wedding, the court was told.

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He also received a brusque growling from Judge Robert Spear, who left him in little doubt that severe consequences awaited him if he broke the terms of his sentence by drinking alcohol.

It was boozing that was the source of Fairley's problems, the judge said.

"There is something in your personal make-up that makes you lose control and become violent [if you drink]."

On the night the punch that landed Fairley in trouble was thrown, he was with a group of friends making their way into the city in a seven-seater mini van.

Fairley and the victim were both in the back seat of the vehicle at 12.10am when - as the police summary of facts describes it - they began "giving each other s...".

Fairley began punching his friend in the head. Other passengers had to intervene and the van stopped. The victim clambered over seats to get away from Fairley, who followed him out of the vehicle.

The pair were on the footpath nearby when - mid-conversation and without warning - Fairley punched his friend in the jaw.

The other man fell to the ground and his head hit the concrete, breaking some teeth.

The victim was dazed and, for a time afterwards, suffered from double vision.

The incident was, defence counsel James Galt said, "the unfortunate result of the drinking culture my client has been involved in".

While Fairley was keen on taking part in a restorative justice meeting, his victim was not willing.

Galt said as well as offering $1200 in emotional harm reparation, Fairley's expressions of remorse and an early guilty plea, the court should also take heed of letters of reference from his client's employer and a sports club he was involved with.

Fairley had not drunk since the incident, the lawyer said.

"If there is a silver lining to those clouds, that is somewhat of a silver lining."

The victim was once a close friend who had been the MC at Fairley's wedding, Galt said.

"If he could turn back the clock he would willingly do so."

Spear agreed that Fairley's actions constituted a betrayal.

"The victim finds it difficult how someone he considered a friend could behave in this way."

Fairley had a job in the gas industry and had the responsibility of being on call to tend to emergency gas leaks - thus, an electronically monitored sentence was not an option for the judge.

"It would mean the end of your job. With some misgivings, I'm prepared to stop short of moving you up the scale," Spear said.

The courts were having to deal with a lot of "king hit" cases, many of which involved serious injury or even death - and in this respect both Fairley and his victim had been lucky.

One of the conditions of his sentence is that Fairley attend any alcohol or anger management courses that he is directed to by his probation officer.

He is also not able to enter businesses that sell liquor unless they are dairies or supermarkets - or the Te Rapa Rugby Club.

And at the club he is still forbidden from drinking alcohol, the judge warned.

"I suspect the victim in this case will have friends who will have considerable delight in reporting you, if they see you drinking."

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