A 53-year-old man has lost his accommodation and job after attacking another man at the Empire Hotel in Temuka where they had both lived. (File photo)
Simmering tensions between two men living in hotel accommodation erupted when one attacked the other as he walked out of a shower room, the Timaru District Court heard on Tuesday.
Matthew John Langston’s hallway attack in the Empire Hotel, Temuka, occurred on February 14, 2023, and he began by punching his victim several times, Judge Campbell Savage said during the 53-year-old’s sentencing on a charge of assaulting a male with intent to injure.
After the first round of punches, Langston grabbed hold of the victim and “punched him some more”, Judge Savage said.
“This would have been a dramatic event to experience for someone who was just out of the shower.”
Judge Savage said the victim suffered pain and discomfort from the attack, but the pain had since gone, although he has ongoing concerns about ever meeting his attacker again.
Judge Savage accepted Langston’s remorse, saying “you know you have let yourself down and there have been consequences for you”.
Langston’s lawyer, Grant Fletcher, appearing from Christchurch via an audiovisual link, had earlier explained that Langston had been evicted from his accommodation at the hotel and lost his job.
“There was a bit of an ongoing issue between the victim and the defendant,” Fletcher said.
“Two issues brought matters to a head … the victim played music quite loud and two days before another resident passed away in a vehicle in the hotel car park.”
Fletcher said his client was pretty distressed over the death and admitted he “blew his stack, that it was inappropriate, it was wrong, he’s extremely sorry, it wasn’t appropriate, and it was wrong”.
Fletcher said Langston was a “decent man” who had already suffered significant consequences for the event.
Judge Savage said the defendant was “at quite a low-ebb because of the recent bereavement” and that “perhaps the actions of the victim was something amounting to the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
However, Judge Savage said he still had to impose a sentence that held Langston accountable for his actions, sentencing him to
120 hours’ community work.
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