A New Zealand man convicted of beating another man who had raped his teenage stepdaughter was sentenced by a judge to 240 hours community service on the morning of June 14. The judge accepted the man's anger over his stepdaughter's rape and the lack of police action to arrest the rapist as satisfactory provocation.
The man, who was not named so as to protect the identity of his underage stepdaughter, was found guilty of intent to injure John Haward, the girl's rapist, in April 2016. The assault took place two days after Haward raped and then pursued the girl her as she fled home naked.
On the day of the rape, the man ran outside of his home after hearing his daughter scream, where he found her crouching in-between cars with Haward hovering over her.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Haward claimed that the girl had stolen his wallet, but could not explain why she was naked. The man and the girl's mother then punched and kicked Haward, but were not charged for that assault.
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Two days later, the man spotted Haward on the side of the road as he and the girl's mother were driving home with evidence from the rape clinic, NZH reported. The man attempted to restrain Haward until police arrived, but then beat him a second time after Haward begin insulting his stepdaughter.
New-Zealand news site Stuff reported that Haward suffered bruises, brain injury and same-day seizures because of the assault. NZH states that there was no head fracture or serious injuries.
The man was found guilty of having beaten Haward and had been awaiting trial. Haward was found guilty of raping the girl and sentenced to seven years, six months in jail in February.
The man expressed no remorse over having beaten Haward, but regretted the consequences.
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"He's a man acting spontaneously ... out of love for his stepdaughter," Defense lawyer Peter Foster told the Wellington District Court Judge. "He is not sorry for what he has done, but he is not saying he would do it again."
The defense requested that the man not be convicted for his crimes, as that would make finding employment difficult in the future.
Prosecuting lawyer Adele Garrick argued that the man's actions against Haward were done out of vengeance. She asked for a minimum of two years, citing "vigilante justice" and the man's injuries as a cause for concern, NZH reported.
Wellington District Court judge Peter Butler began his sentencing by telling the man that he would not send him to jail, but that he would also not let him go without conviction.
He sentenced him to 240 hours of community service, ruling that he was provoked by Haward and by the situation. The judge also noted that Haward had "superficial" injuries and a track record of criminal activity.
Stuff reported that the man found the judge's comments to be fair. His faith in the justice system, however, appears to be shaken.
NZH quotes: "It's really the victims that get punished in court."
The man is now back at home with his family.