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Post-pool punch pinged

Post-pool punch pinged

An Australian deportee punched a man following a misunderstanding after a game of pool.

Julius Stewart Graff, 47, appeared before Judge Stephen O’Driscoll in the Ashburton District Court on Monday for sentencing on charges of assault and causing injury.

After losing a game of pool at Rakaia's Railway Tavern on July 19, Graff went to shake the hands of the opposing team.

When the team captain didn't shake his hand, Graff punched him.

Graff’s lawyer Joanna Lorrigan-Innes said he had a significant criminal history in Australia, to the extent that he was deported back to New Zealand.

He had started a new life when he came back to New Zealand almost seven years ago. This was his first time before the court since being back in the country.

Lorrigan-Innes said Graff had a supportive employer and a stable relationship and helped to support his partner and her children.

Judge O’Driscoll said Graff believed the victim deliberately did not shake hands.

Graff encountered the victim again later that night in a bar in Ashburton and punched him again, splitting the man's lip.

The attack was "unprovoked and unnecessary", according to the victim impact statement, the judge said.

Graff met the victim for a restorative justice conference and offered both an apology and reparation.

“You accepted you misread the situation. The restorative justice conference cleared the air and hopefully, everyone will be able to move forward," the judge said.

Graff also appeared on a charge of drink driving after he was stopped at a police check point on Cambridge Terrace on August 13. Graff blew 501mcg of alcohol per litre of breath.

“There were two incidents and alcohol was involved in both. It (alcohol) doesn’t solve problems but only causes more problems.”

Judge O’Driscoll said he was impressed with the restorative justice conference and believed Graff was remorseful and had learned from the experience.

He sentenced him to three months’ home detention, with a further six-month post-detention special conditions to attend any courses recommended by probation.

On the drink driving charge, Graff was disqualified from driving for six months.

By Sharon Davis