Sentencing of Aziz Al-Sa'afin's attacker put off until December

The man behind a vicious and unprovoked homophobic attack on The AM Show reporter Aziz Al-Sa'afin has had his sentencing put off until December.

Joden Martin, 20, earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of injuring with intent to injure and intent to injure with assault.

In February this year, Al-Sa'afin was with his friends on Karangahape Rd in Auckland, when Martin shouted homopobic slurs at them, and started beating them up.

His laywer told Judge Ronayne that her client had thought Al-Sa'afin was being "disrespectful".

"He has instructed me that they (Al-Sa'afin and group) were standing beside a church."

Ronayne questioned this approach.

"Is that a serious submission he wants me to take? That they were disrespectfully standing by a church?"

Martin's lawyer also said Martin had been drunk and distraught at the time as it was the anniversary of his father's death.

Reading his victim impact statement, Al-Sa'afin was nearly in tears as he detailed the homophobic assault.

"On that night my friend and I were made to feel humiliated and worthless. The actions of Joden were intended to make us feel like we didn't belong, and that we were wrong in living our lives the way we were."

Speaking directly to Martin, Al-Sa'afin told his attacker: "To move forward, to help with my own healing, I need to do this. I forgive you for what you did to me.

"I hope that if there's anything you take from today, it's that we all believe in the same thing and that is love."

The sentencing was originally intended to take place on Friday afternoon, but was delayed after it was revealed Martin was on bail for another violent incident when the assault on Al-Sa'afin happened.

The court heard Martin also pleaded guilty to that charge, and used the same excuse about his father's passing for the incident.

Ronayne said he needed to seriously consider both cases, and Martin will now be sentenced over both incidents in December.

After the court appearance, Al-Sa'afin told Newshub it had been an extremely emotional and tough day. While he had been expecting that, it wasn't until he was in the court and preparing to give his victim impact statement that the "trauma" hit.

"When he entered the room, the trauma of the night and everything came rushing back," Al-Sa'afin said, noting he began getting sweaty and really nervous before reading his statement out.

"I felt like bursting out in tears".

But he said reading out the victim impact statement and looking his perpetrator in the eyes was about truly beginning the "healing process". Al-Sa'afin said while he had seen Martin in photos, Friday was the first time he had seen him in person since the incident.

He said it was also important in showing other members of the LGBTQ community that they had a voice and should not be scared about talking about their experiences.

"If there is anyone who finds themselves in that situation, it's okay to speak up and they should not feel embarrased".

He said it was disappointing that the sentence won't be known until December, but understands the reasons why.

"I just have now to deal with it for the rest of the year."

Al-Sa'afin told The AM Show in May he would never forget the moment he found out the man pleaded guilty.

"For the last couple of months I felt like I was chained, like this massive thing has just kept me. I've been walking around with this ball and chain just everywhere.

"Yesterday in a single moment those chains were just broken."

Al-Sa'afin said he felt pity for Martin.

"My message to this guy is I really feel sorry for you. From my understanding this was motivated by his religious views. I've grown up in a massively religious household and the only thing that I've always been taught is love."