Assault accused only trying to help’

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The Queenstown man charged after an alleged bar assault which left the victim in a coma has indicated he’ll plead not guilty.
 
Duty solicitor Sonia Vidal, representing the accused 40-year-old who appeared in Queenstown District Court this morning (Monday), says the man’s instructions to her are he’ll fight the charge. 

The man faces a charge of wounding with reckless disregard causing grievous bodily harm. 

It’s the accused’s first appearance following an incident in Subculture nightclub at about 3am on January 21 which left Jordan Sinke, 26, in hospital in an induced coma. 

The accused also faces a charge of common assault in relation to a separate incident on a friend of the victim who was also in Subculture at the time. Sinke, who had a 10-12cm bone flap removed to ease swelling of his brain, was brought out of his coma last week but remains in Dunedin Hospital. 

Vidal, arguing for interim name suppression, told the court today there appears to be some conclusions being made already about the accused man’s involvement. 

“His instructions to me are he is not guilty and he was going to assist rather than assault the main complainant,” Vidal says. 

Vidal says she has no problem with a bail condition for the accused not to drink, but there’s a difficulty with him not being allowed at licensed premises. 

“He works in and around bars,” Vidal says.

Vidal argued for interim name suppression on the basis the accused was a figure of “notoriety” and deserved the right to a fair trial.

Judge Michael Turner said he was not of a mind to grant suppression as the accused’s name had already been published. Judge Turner stood the matter down until this afternoon so Vidal could further confer with the accused. 

Outside court, the accused wouldn’t comment, but indicated he was perplexed that he’d been charged.