CEO of registered charity – Womens Refuge – criticises Judge’s decision

Womens Refuge is a charity registered with the Charities Commission and receives considerable government financial assistance. Its Chief Executive, Heather Henare, has attacked a decision issued by a Judge in the Wellington District Court relating to a man charged with a “degrading” assault. She claims the decision “reeked of double standards”. 

A Te Papa manager has escaped conviction for a “degrading” assault on his pregnant former partner after claiming it would hamper his international travel for the museum.

Noel James Osborne, 47, is a collections manager of Maori artefacts. In a video on Te Papa’s website in which he presents the museum’s collection of taiaha, he says he is a carver.

Women’s Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said Osborne’s discharge without conviction reeked of double standards. “Effectively what this says is it is OK if you happen to be in a privileged position.”

Osborne, appearing in Wellington District Court yesterday, had previously pleaded guilty to common domestic assault.

Prosecutor Blair Piper described the attack as quite a degrading act. “It does have emotional ramifications beyond the physical. There’s simply no excuse for taking that action against a woman who was pregnant.”

But Osborne successfully argued that the effects of a conviction outweighed the gravity of the offending.

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