Dunedin man jailed for forcing himself on elderly neighbour

A man who drunkenly forced himself on his elderly neighbour before assaulting police has been sent to prison.

Raukawa Knight, 42, was heavily intoxicated at the Brockville home he shared with his mother on January 13, the Dunedin District Court heard yesterday.

After becoming angry over the deteriorating state of his relationship, he started to destroy items including a TV and PlayStation.

His mother, fearing for her safety, called police.

In the meantime, Knight walked next door to a home occupied by recent arrivals from Syria.

He approached one of them, a slight 74-year-old woman, who was in the front yard and grabbed her from behind in a bear hug.

He then placed both his hands around her neck and kissed her on the cheek before returning home.

The woman retreated inside, fearing for her safety.

About 10 minutes later, Knight returned to the property and began banging on the front door, leaving only when confronted and pushed away.

By the time police arrived, Knight was inside his house.

When police called for him to come to the front door, smashing sounds could be heard.

He emerged, kneeled on the front lawn and put his hands behind his head.

But when an officer attempted to handcuff him, he resisted multiple times.

It took four police officers to physically restrain him enough for him to be handcuffed. He then refused to walk or stand, becoming a “dead weight” officers had to carry to the police car, where he struggled against police again.

Once inside the car, he kicked a police officer on the leg before repeatedly challenging him to a fight and attempting to bite him on the arm.

He later told police he was remorseful about the attack on his neighbour, but said he was too drunk to remember what had happened.

Counsel John Westgate said Knight’s assault had no sexual intent.

Knight had issues with alcohol that needed to be addressed, and he submitted that a sentence of intensive supervision would be appropriate.

But that was not tough enough for Judge Kevin Phillips.

In sentencing Knight, Judge Phillips said the attack had a major psychological impact on the victim, who did not speak English and did not know what Knight’s intentions were.

He was “alarmed” a sentence of supervision had been suggested for “drunken and violent conduct”.

He sentenced Knight to nine months’ prison, with leave to apply for a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme.


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