Man convicted of assault over $10 debt

A man who headbutted a man and gouged out his eye for a $10 debt was convicted in Invercargill District Court yesterday.

Nursery worker Shannon Rhys Waghorn (32), of Invercargill, was found guilty of assault, assault with intent to injure and bodily injury with intent to injure at Invercargill in April last year after a trial in front of judge alone in front of judge Peter Rollo on May 11.

The offense occurred at a boarding house where the victim and Waghorn lived.

Yesterday, Judge Rollo said it was when Waghorn demanded the victim pay back the $10 owed to him that Waghorn grabbed the man, pulled him through a window, kicked him head and tore out his right eye.

Although the injuries sustained by the victim were not serious, they required hospital treatment, Judge Rollo said.

“It’s a serious offence, considering the gouged eye in particular.”

Waghorn had denied the charge saying it was a case of mistaken identity at trial, but the judge ruled the identity had been proven as Waghorn was known to the victim as they lived in the same pension.

Crown Attorney Mike Brownlie said yesterday that if a sentence of house arrest meant Waghorn lost his job, then he would consider community detention as a better option for him.

Judge Rollo agreed, saying keeping Waghorn in the job would benefit both him and the wider community.

He sentenced Waghorn to six months in community custody and 200 hours of community service and ordered him to pay $1,000 in moral damages.

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