ACT MP Laura Trask blasts discharge without conviction sentence for man who punched 71yo woman at Posie Parker protest

  • 05/03/2024

ACT is slamming the justice system after a man who punched a 71-year-old woman at a protest last year was discharged without conviction.  

The 20-year-old man was charged with assault after being filmed striking the woman during a counter-protest to a Let Women Speak event last March, led by UK women's rights activist Posie Parker.  

But, despite the assault charge, Judge Kevin Glubb discharged him without conviction in the Auckland District Court on Monday, the NZ Herald reported. He was also granted permanent name suppression.  

ACT MP Laura Trask didn't think that was good enough.  

"A 71-year-old woman attending a women's rights event was physically attacked by a man who thought his political opinion trumped her right to safety," said Trask in a statement.   

"Using violence to suppress opinions you disagree with is a singularly ugly act and this discharge without conviction sets a disappointing precedent for the consequences of political violence.  

"ACT will continue to advocate for a country where freedom of speech is protected at all costs and where using violence to suppress this fundamental right is punished accordingly."  

Laura Trask.
Laura Trask. Photo credit: ACT Party

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters also appears to have responded on X following the sentencing.

"The Cabinet Manual means a minister cannot comment on the court sentencing of a man for a blatant assault - no matter how ridiculous and out of touch the sentencing is," he said.  

Judith Hobson, the victim, also slammed the sentencing - telling the Herald it was "an absolute joke" and labelling her attacker "a disgrace".  

"I am absolutely livid that he has walked out of the court with, in my opinion, virtually no consequences whatsoever.  

"It's no wonder victims don't go to court, because they become victims all over again," Hobson told the Herald.

The man was charged in April, almost a month after Let Women Speak supporters and trans-rights counter protesters clashed at Auckland's Albert Park.  

Parker was set to speak at the event and was escorted to Albert Park's rotunda by security.  

After making it to the stage, Parker was doused in tomato juice and her speech was drowned out by counter protestors.  

The scenes quickly turned riotous as pushing and scuffles broke out between attendees of Parker's rally and the larger counter-protest.  

Parker was quickly escorted out of the venue by private security after being rushed and sprayed with water.