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Court appearance: James Shaw’s attacker named

The man convicted of assaulting Green Party co-leader James Shaw has reappeared in the Wellington District Court for a disputed facts hearing.

Photo: RNZ

Paul Harris, 47, who had name suppression until this afternoon, admitted one charge of injuring Mr Shaw with intent and was convicted in May.

Mr Shaw suffered a fractured eye socket in the attack near the capital’s Botanic Gardens as he walked to work at Parliament in March.

Mr Shaw gave evidence this morning, saying that after a brief exchange his assailant grabbed his lapel and punched him three or four times in the head, before pushing him to the ground and punching and kicking him in the back and head.

The man’s lawyer, Marty Robinson, asked Mr Shaw whether he could be mistaken about the kick, and whether the man may have simply been shifting his foot and nudged him in the back.

Mr Shaw said it had the force of a blow and was likely to be a kick rather than a punch because of the angle.

Judge Chris Tuohy found Mr Shaw a more convincing witness than his attacker.

Justice Tuohy said Mr Shaw was clear about when he suffered the injury and he would have known because it must have hurt.

He was also convinced that Mr Harris struck him at least three or four times more while he lay on the ground trying to protect himself.

However, he said there was no proof of a kick, as Mr Shaw admitted he did not see it, only felt it, and neither of the other two witnesses saw it.

Harris will be sentenced on 6 November.