A high-flying Wellington lawyer has received a rare diversion after assaulting and kicking his wife, a decision slammed by Women’s Refuge for sending “the wrong message”.
The lawyer, who is a partner at a major Wellington law firm, was charged with male assaults female in the Wellington District Court, an offence punishable by up to two years in prison.
The police summary of facts states the lawyer pushed his wife twice during an argument and then kicked her four times in the buttocks.
Police policy is usually to automatically oppose granting diversion in family violence cases, as it is considered too serious an offence.
However, despite the policy, an exception was made for this lawyer.
Instead, he was asked to do counselling and, on Friday, the court said his diversion was complete and his charge was dismissed.
After Fairfax Media made inquiries about the case, the man’s lawyer also successfully applied for name suppression, claiming the case had no “public interest”.
It may (or may not) have been appropriate to grant diversion, but it is clearly wrong to grant name suppression. Escaping legal consequences should not mean you escape reputational consequences.
If he had been a lorry driver, would he get name suppression?