Man who assaulted teenagers at Young Labour camp discharged without conviction

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and former Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton speaking at the event.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and former Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton speaking at the event. Photo credit: Facebook

The man who pleaded guilty to assault at a Young Labour camp has been discharged without conviction.

The man, who has name suppression, was initially accused of four charges of indecent assault. However, two charges relating to the alleged indecent assaults were later dropped and the other two were changed to common assault.

The assaults took place at a Young Labour camp in Waihi last February. He was removed from the camp the next morning.

Judge Russell Collins, relaying a summary of facts, said that the man was in a dining hall with a number of other people when he put his hand inside one of the victim's pants. Later a group gathered for a photo and the man put his hand down a second person's pants.

The judge said a lot of alcohol was being consumed at the party and the incidents were "born out of drunken stupidity".

"I'm not convinced that what he did was for sexual gratification or for any perverted motive," Judge Collins said.

Following reports of the incident in 2018, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to personally investigate the allegations. Labour's general secretary at the time Andrew Kirton said the party was "deeply sorry" that the assaults were allowed to happen.

The man's lawyer said during the trial that his client was always prepared to take responsibility for assault, but not sexual assault.

"My client is not a sexual offender and appropriately the Crown have now recognised that. We are grateful that what happened that night has been seen for what it really was: drunken antics at a party," the lawyer said in a statement at the time. 

He said his client had got caught up in a "political storm" and had faced enormous pressure since the incident. 

Today's hearing also dealt with whether the man would be allowed to keep name suppression.

Judge Collins dropped the suppression, however the man will be appealing the decision, so still can't be identified.