High profile Wellington man accused of assaulting son

A high profile Wellington public servant allegedly assaulted his teenage son after he attempted to run away from home with $700 which he had previously stolen from his mother.The man, whose name and occupation are suppressed, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of assault on a family member, stemming from the incident which took place in August 2008.The complainant, under cross-examination, said today that he exaggerated his initial complaint to police, saying that his dad had never punched him.

A high profile Wellington public servant allegedly assaulted his teenage son after he attempted to run away from home with $700 which he had previously stolen from his mother.

The man, whose name and occupation are suppressed, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of assault on a family member, stemming from the incident which took place in August 2008.

The complainant, under cross-examination, said today that he exaggerated his initial complaint to police, saying that his dad had never punched him.

The jury at the Wellington District Court was shown a recording of a police interview with the complainant in which he said that his dad assaulted him after finding him on Manners Street near the McDonald's fast food restaurant.

The complainant, 15 at the time, said he had ran away from home and stolen $700 from his mother's bankcard with the intention of paying friends to stay with them.

After being discovered he said his father warned him not to run, saying "if you try to run I'll break your legs", he told the court.

He explained how his dad dragged him back to the car and smacked him on the back of the head which left a red mark.

After dragging him into the car he looked through his bag and after he found cigarettes he smacked him in the face, he told the jury.

He told the jury how he heard a girl ringing the police while he was in the car.

His father then told him "if I lose my job it's your fault", he said.

The teenager said in the video that it was not the first time his dad had assaulted him, saying that he had hit him after he got in trouble at school and after being caught shoplifting.

After the court was shown the interview, defence counsel Mike Antunovic cross-examined the complainant, asking him if everything he had said was true.

The complainant said he exaggerated the incident, admitting that while there was physical contact his father had never punched him.

"I feel I may have exaggerated in some parts," he told the jury.

He admitted that the reason he made the complaint was because he wanted to move away from home because he was scared about a letter saying he had been expelled from school was about to arrive.

He told the court how since laying the charges in April last year, he had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and had restored his relationship with his father.

He also said how he had stolen money before and accepted that his parents had good reason to worry about his safety.

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