Basketballer’s slam leads to dunk

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A former Tall Black basketballer’s been convicted of battering a Queenstown bouncer.

Auckland giant Craig Robert Bradshaw, who’s six foot 10 inches (208cm) tall, kicked his victim Gareth Johnson in the head as he lay on the ground outside the resort’s Bunker bar in June 2014.

Before that, he’d held him by the scruff of the neck as he was repeatedly punched by Bradshaw and two friends.

Johnson had refused the men entry to the bar and allegedly had placed one of Bradshaw’s friends in a choke hold.

It was the worst attack he experienced in eight years as a doorman, prompting him to quit the profession.

Bradshaw, 32, denied assault with intent to injure and the case went to a judge-alone trial in June.

But Judge Bernadette Farnan took only seconds to find the charge proven after hearing evidence and eyewitness testimony.

And on Monday, she refused Bradshaw’s application for a discharge without conviction.

Instead, she convicted him, fined him $500 and ordered him to pay $750 reparation to Johnson for emotional harm.

Defence lawyer Liam Collins says the grounds for a discharge are his client’s “exceptional previous character” and the impact on his ability to care for his young daughter.

He could also lose a second job due to media coverage of the case.

But Farnan doesn’t accept either argument and says there’s no independent evidence he lost the first job due to publicity – rather he was made redundant.

She says he’s shown no remorse and his superior height and size had put Johnson in a “vulnerable position” that night.

The former Otago Nuggets basketballer played four years of college basketball in the United States before a professional career with clubs in New Zealand, Australia, Spain, South Korea and Latvia from 2007 to 2012.

He represented New Zealand from 2004 to 2010, making his debut at the 2004 Olympic Games. He retired in 2012 due to an ankle injury.

Bradshaw’s two companions on the night were charged with disorderly behaviour and later granted police diversion.