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Violence ‘almost as bad as it gets’

A Wairoa man drove his partner to the police station after seriously assaulting her, and told her to make a complaint, Gisborne District Court has heard.

There she told police about other incidents in which her partner had dished out violence to her — often in front of their four children.

She was too frightened to report it earlier.

Arapoiti Edward Marsters Kupa, 27, appeared for sentence on several charges relating to his violence — assault with a sharp weapon, assault with intent to injure and threatening to kill or do grievous bodily harm.

He also faced charges of dangerous driving and driving with blood containing evidence of a controlled substance.

Judge Brooke Gibson imposed a jail term of two years, 11 months, and granted a protection order in favour of the complainant and her four children.

Reparation of $7291 was sought but Kupa was in no position to pay, the judge said. He did not order it.

At least now — after the most recent incident — Kupa seemed to realise how inappropriate his behaviour was and showed he was remorseful, the judge said.

But these were very serious incidents — “domestic violence almost as bad as it gets”, the judge said. It justified nothing short of imprisonment.

People like Kupa’s partner were entitled to be safe and the community was entitled to see its laws enforced properly.

While he could only speculate, he was concerned as to the possible effect the offending might have had on the children, the judge said. Many of the assaults had taken place in front of them, including incidents in which Kupa punched and kicked the woman in the head.

In a victim statement filed with the court, the complainant said she and her children had been living in fear for years, walking on egg shells, sleeping with one eye open. The children had asked to leave.

Counsel Alistair Clark said Kupa had been failing to deal with and manage certain life stresses, descending into a depressive state and trying to treat it with methamphetamine.

It was an “unholy combination” that saw Kupa lashing out in a seriously violent way to his partner.

He had not tried to hide. Mr Clarke said it was the first time he had ever heard of someone driving a complainant to the police station and urging them to go in.

Mr Clarke sought home detention for Kupa, who had been remanded in custody — his first experience of imprisonment. Kupa had prospects of rehabilitation if the court was minded towards that type of sentence, he said.

The judge said he accepted some of Kupa’s violence was fuelled by the drug but that was no excuse. The level of violence was too high for anything other than imprisonment.

The most recent assault was one of the worst inflicted by Kupa on the woman in recent years. It occurred in April, when he grabbed her and held his forearm against her throat, pushed her against a wall, presented a long knife and made threats towards her.

He smashed her head on to steps and applied a choke hold. She was rendered unconscious and fell to the ground.

A witness tried to intervene but Kupa warned that person off.

Judge Gibson noted Kupa’s comment to a pre-sentence report writer that since being remanded in custody, he was no longer using methamphetamine. However, he was concerned whether he could further abstain when released.

The judge set a sentence starting point for the violence at four years, uplifting it by three months for the driving matters. He allowed five months discount for the show of remorse and 25 percent discount for Kupa’s guilty pleas.