12 Sep 2011

Car salesman convicted of assault on TV reporter

12:03 pm on 12 September 2011

A car salesman has been convicted and ordered to pay reparation for punching a television reporter in Mount Maunganui.

Alan Spiers pleaded guilty to assault, and a second charge of intentional damage to camera and sound equipment.

Camera footage leading up to and after the attack was broadcast on TVNZ's Fair Go programme in August.

The court heard that Spiers punched reporter Gordon Harcourt causing his glasses to cut into the ridge of his nose.

There was some dispute in the court as to whether Mr Harcourt and his cameraman went onto Spiers' property.

Outside court, Mr Harcourt said they were always on public property and described the attack as an assault on the right of the news media to go about its business.

Spiers' lawyer, Bill Nabney, said his client deeply regrets what happened and sought a discharge without conviction.

But Judge Rollo said the actions were excessive and unwarranted.

He ordered Spiers to pay reparation of more than $1500 to Mr Harcourt and more than $600 for the damage caused to the camera.