A Christchurch police officer charged with assaulting an assistant football referee has been let off without a conviction, but described as "the spectator from hell" by a judge.
Senior Constable Keith Rose grabbed the assistant by the lapels following a premier league match in which his son was playing between Western and Cashmere Technical in June this year. The 59-year-old was off duty at the time.
In the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday, Mr Rose admitted to verbally abusing the referee as well as grabbing the assistant's throat as officials left the pitch.
Mr Rose's lawyer Pip Hall told the court his client had been shoved towards the man by the crowd and, still in considerable pain from a recent operation, had reacted angrily.
"Given the burden of proof, there is more than reasonable doubt as to exactly what did occur. But there is no doubt that there was a collision involving the referee. As a result of that collision, the defendant took hold of the complainant, believing he was being assaulted."
Discharging Mr Rose without conviction, Judge Robert Murfitt ordered him to pay $1500 towards the victim as a form of emotional harm compensation.