Frustrations boil over after rest home assault case adjourned

Caregiver Sonali Deo covered her face as she left the court (Newshub.)
Caregiver Sonali Deo covered her face as she left the court (Newshub.)

The family of an elderly man who was assaulted by a former rest home worker say they're frustrated her case has been adjourned till next year.

Piri Hemi was hit and man handled by caregiver Sonali Deo while he lay on his bed. The assault was secretly filmed by the man's family.

The incident happened in June this year, and came to light after worried relatives planted a hidden camera in his room at Hamilton retirement facility Cascades.

They say they decided to take action after noticing Hemi had become withdrawn and fearful.

Deo previously pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault.

She was due to be sentenced today, but that has been adjourned until March 2017.

Hemi's son Allan says he's upset his family won't have closure before the holiday season.

"It's quite frustrating for my family and we wanted to have it done so we could have a good Christmas with dad, because we don't know how many Christmases he'll be around for".

Allan Hemi and his wife Priscilla waited outside the court for Deo to leave, and things got heated when Hemi tried to take photos of the former rest home worker.

"I was going to get a photo, I wasn't touching her and then her lawyer grabbed my arm. I said don't touch me then I went to get another photo and he kept grabbing me by the arm. 

"I yelled out to the security guards as he grabbed my arm, and they didn't do anything, they said let the lawyer go."

Hemi and his wife followed Deo and her lawyer Richard Barnsdale to his office.

"I then ran across the road to get some photos, and got a couple but was told not to enter the building so I didn't".

Hemi says things got a little out of hand in the heat of the moment, but has apologised.

"I'd just like to say sorry to anyone who did see me acting what they thought was appropriately, but if it did happen to you and your family you might do the same."

He says despite his families frustration they have to "let justice do its thing", but he believes nothing has been done.

"We have video of her assaulting my dad, she's pleaded guilty, what's next?"

Deo is due back in court for sentencing on March 10, where it's understood her lawyer will argue for a discharge without conviction.