Harness racing star gets three months' community detention for assaulting and strangling woman

Matthew Anderson was found guilty in July.
Matthew Anderson was found guilty in July. Photo credit: Getty

A harness racing star has been sentenced to three months' community detention and a year of intensive supervision for assaulting and strangling a woman.

Matthew Anderson was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on Tuesday after being found guilty in July.

Before Judge Stephen O'Driscoll handed down the sentence, Anderson's lawyer Alastair Davis told the court he had an appalling upbringing and is remorseful and embarrassed.

"He has come a very long way under his own steam after a bad start in life," Davis said.

"It is unlikely you will see him before the court again. 

"His actions were despicable - he understands this."

But the police contended Anderson had a lack of genuine remorse, saying the victim was strangled twice, put in a chokehold, kicked in the head, and thrown into doors.

Judge O'Driscoll described the offending as serious.

"You did not have an easy start to life but you have built up a significant career - I take those matters into account.

"It is clear that you are someone who has tremendous talent - you have clearly impressed numerous people. 

"None of those people were present at the time of the offending."

Judge O'Driscoll said he accepted the offending was out of character.

"Often perpetrators of domestic violence can have two separate personalities.  

"What you did was wrong, Mr Anderson, and must not be repeated again. In saying that, you have done some things that have put you in a best-case scenario today."

As well as community detention and intensive supervision, Anderson was ordered to pay reparations of $5000 for emotional harm to the victim. 

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