Wellington lawyer on assault charges named

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A senior partner at Wellington firm Morrison Kent in New Zealand who received a rare diversion after assaulting and kicking his wife has been named.

Jonathan Parker was dismissed in the Wellington District Court and completed diversion, after police reports of the incident said Parker pushed his wife twice during an argument and kicked her in the buttocks, Stuff reported.

Ordinarily, police automatically oppose granting diversion in family violence cases but in this case an exception was made and Parker was instead asked to do counselling.  On Friday, the court said his diversion was complete and the charge was dismissed.

“I don't think it's appropriate for domestic violence. I don't think it sends a clear message that domestic violence is not acceptable in our society,” Wellington Women's Refuge manager Philippa McAtee told Stuff of the diversion’s message.

“Judges should not treat professionals any differently than someone who was unemployed or was of any other background or ethnicity.”

The decision was reportedly made with the police family violence team with the approval of Parker’s wife.

But McAtee said it can be hard for victims to say no to a diversion.

“I think they would feel possibly worried about repercussions if they didn't [give approval] and under a lot of emotional pressure when they are then told it could lead to [their partner] losing their job if they didn't get their diversion,” she said.

The New Zealand Law Society would not comment last week due to the seriousness of the crime.