A Taupo district councillor who was planning to run for the mayoralty this year has been convicted on a charge of breaching a protection order.
But while Rex Mincher's defence was that he had been provoked by his wife Shona, his wife said in a victim impact statement she felt he should be sent to prison.
The court heard Mr Mincher, 49, who had separated from his wife but still hoped for a reconciliation, went to their home on October 6 last year. She was not there and Mr Mincher, who was extremely upset after finding out she was seeing another man, broke several items in her bedroom, including a television, pictures and a bedside lamp, plus a vase in the hallway.
However his lawyer Sharon Opai said Mr Mincher, who until then had been complying with the terms of the protection order, had been provoked by the sight of his wife with another man, and by a text message she sent him shortly after he saw them together.
Mr Mincher appeared in the Taupo District Court today . He had originally been charged with three counts of breaching a protection order but two were withdrawn. He pleaded guilty to the remaining charge.
Mr Mincher was charged last year with assaulting his wife but was acquitted after a court hearing last year found that the case could not be proved. Mr Mincher had said he had accidentally clipped his wife's lip after raising his hands in self-defence when she spat in his face.
Mrs Opai told Judge Philip Cooper that after Mr Mincher moved out in September his wife had continued to occupy their home while he paid the mortgage, phone bills and gave her a weekly allowance, all while hoping for a reconciliation.
However he had been shocked to see his wife in town with somebody else, and the realisation that his marriage was over, led to his "bad judgement call" to go to the house, Mrs Opai said.
While he accepted he should not have done that, Mrs Mincher's conduct should also be looked at, Mrs Opai said.
"My submission is that the complainant [Mrs Mincher] wasn't at risk, but that her behaviour was deliberately provocative."
She said Mr Mincher took his responsibility to the community and to his five-year-old daughter Amelia extremely seriously and still hoped to pursue a career in local body politics. Since the incident he had shown "real strength of character" in staying away from his wife to not inflame the situation and was trying to deal with it through counselling and trying to move forward with his life, including regaining custody of his daughter.
He was already being seriously punished by not being allowed to see his daughter except under supervision. He had seen her in early October but had struggled to see her since, despite a Family Court order that he was to have access over Christmas.
Before sentencing, Judge Philip Cooper said there was no evidence Mrs Mincher's actions were deliberately provocative and once a couple separated they each had the ability to get on with their own lives without control from the other spouse.
He said of Mrs Mincher's victim impact statement that there was "a lot of material in that report which is very subjective" and it said her husband should go to prison and "other comments around that sort of desire to see you locked up for this".
Although the judge said he had seen testimonials which said Mr Mincher was of good character, he had to look at the incident itself, which was an intrusion into Mrs Mincher's personal space which the protection order was designed to prevent.
He convicted Mr Mincher and ordered him to pay $500 plus $132.89 court costs.
Mr Mincher said outside court he thought the sentence was fair because he had breached the protection order.
He said he was unsure whether he would still run for the mayoralty this year because his first priority was to gain shared custody of Amelia.
"The courts have treated me fairly. But my next fight is for my daughter."