Ngatokoha Marsters was handed an 18-month suspended sentence at the High Court yesterday – and narrowly avoided a prison sentence.
“You escaped by the skin of your teeth,” Justice of the Peace John Whitta told him.
Arguably, the victim in the bar brawl was lucky to escape with his teeth.
Marsters was convicted of common assault for his role in a brawl. He was found to have kicked another man in the head, outside the Lunar Bar night club in Avarua, no November 2 last year.
His co-offender Alfred William faces a more serious charge of assault with intent – he allegedly used a bottle to hit his victim.
William was allowed by the Court to travel to Penrhyn for a family function and is to then return and answer to the charge against him.
Defence lawyer Wilkie Rasmussen has earlier entered a not guilty plea for William.
He said William was alleged to have hit the victim with a bottle, but there was no evidence, no one saw his client committing the offence.
He explained that there was conflicting evidence and someone apparently saw blood on the head of the victim before William had even arrived at the scene.
Rasmussen, in his submissions for Marsters, said while the defendant had a different view of the summary of facts in regards to the kick to the head, it was never the less a serious charge and reiterated his guilty plea.
Rasmussen said Marsters works at the Penrhyn power station and came to Rarotonga with his wife who was due to give birth to their child.
Rasmussen said Marsters wanted to get the matter dealt with so he could return to Penrhyn to be with his wife who had already returned after having their baby.
Marsters had appeared in court before, for fighting in a public place outside the island hostels. This was resolved in the community, and on that occasion the court discharged him without a conviction.
This time, he was convicted. Police prosecutor senior sergeant Fairoa Tararo recommended Marsters serve community service under 12 months of probation with the conditions not to enter any licensed premises nor to drink alcohol.
He said police had liaised with the witnesses and victim, who did undergo medical treatment, but a victim statement report could not be obtained.
JP Whitta in sentencing Marsters said his starting point was a prison term, but he was inclined to give a suspended sentence.
He added that prosecution’s submissions saved Marsters life as they did not see Marsters involvement to be as serious as his co-offender William.