The victim of a vicious and unprovoked assault in a Queenstown bar continues to suffer but is relieved his attacker has pleaded guilty.
Queenstown labourer Samuel James Corson, 21, left visiting Aucklander Mike Knight with such horrific injuries he needed surgery to mend his face – and still has lingering nerve damage.
Corson, who lives in Sunshine Bay, pleaded guilty in Queenstown District Court on Monday and potentially faces a prison term.
Corson admitted to injuring Knight with reckless disregard in the early hours of Sunday, July 14, at downtown Queenstown’s Skybar.
Aucklander Knight says: “It’s a big relief for me and my family that’s for sure. I’m very happy he’s pleaded guilty and been convicted.
“I’m slowly coming right. I’ve still got nerve damaged so a good part of the left side of my face is numb and I have a scar under my eye.”
Knight, 37, suffered a shattered cheekbone and eye socket, a broken nose, damaged eye and major nerve damage.
The father-of-two needed two plates surgically inserted in his face after the incident.
In court on Monday, prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says the men were unknown to each other and drinking in separate groups.
Knight was waiting to leave the premises, Collin says, standing by the exit next to the dance floor when Corson approached and punched him twice to the face with a closed fist.
Police originally said someone had either kneed or kicked Knight in the face.
Knight says: “That was my understanding as well but I was not really any of the wiser at the time because the damage was so bad.
“But either way it was an unprovoked attack.”
Corson could not recall the incident due to his level of intoxication and stated this sort of behaviour was not normally part of his character, sergeant Collin told the court.
Defence counsel Mike Newell says Corson had a previously unblemished character and while he did not deny the offending “the consequence has far exceeded what he expected”.
Corson wrongly believed Knight had earlier been involved in an incident with an associate, during which Corson’s associate was head-butted.
After a stand-down in custody on Monday, Newell says Corson would have available at least $5000 for an emotional harm payment to Knight.
Judge Turner convicted Corson and remanded him on bail to November 18 for sentencing.
Judge Turner ordered an emotional harm report and a pre-sentence report to address home detention as an option.
“Imprisonment is the starting point [and it is] for the judge on the day to consider if it’s also the end point,” Judge Turner says.