A Dunedin man who imported “a whole supermarket” of drugs through the dark web beat up his ex-girlfriend after getting early release, a court has heard.
Daniel Patrick McKechnie (26) was locked up for seven years in 2015 for bringing methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy into the country.
Part of the enterprise, the Dunedin District Court heard at the time, took place while the defendant was on bail, when he continued sourcing illicit substances and used friends to open post boxes in fictitious names to have them delivered.
After being released by the Parole Board on a range of conditions, McKechnie was in trouble with the law again in March last year. When their relationship of a year ended, the defendant visited his ex-girlfriend’s home near Waikouaiti to collect his belongings.
She was alone and in bed at the time, the court heard this week.
The woman let McKechnie into the house but an argument swiftly developed, to the point where the man grabbed her and punched her in the upper body and arms. She lashed out at him and then fled to a neighboring address.
McKechnie left with his possessions, as well as the victim’s cellphone, but returned shortly afterwards to put the stolen item in the post box. When interviewed by police, the defendant claimed he had been the victim of violence rather than the instigator.
Judge Michael Turner said that was clearly a lie, since McKechnie had subsequently pleaded guilty to assault in a family relationship. In a statement to the court, the victim said she had never been subject to such a beating and it “really threw me”.
Such were McKechnie’s repeated denials that it almost convinced her she was in the wrong, but she said the defendant was a trained boxer and that she would never have started a fight with him. Her trauma, she said, was exacerbated by the fact her ex-boyfriend’s mates intimidated her to withdraw the complaint.
The court also heard McKechnie called the victim’s parents from prison stating he wanted to remain part of their family — another episode that revictimised the woman.
Defense counsel Deborah Henderson said her client had completed rehabilitation programs while behind bars and had been studying through a tertiary institute. These were McKechnie’s first violence convictions, she said.
Ms. Henderson urged Judge Turner to take into account the year the defendant had spent in prison, having been recalled to continue serving the drug sentence. He sentenced McKechnie to two weeks’ jail, which meant he would still be able to see the Parole Board next week.
The judge ordered he pay the victim $1000 and made a protection order in her favor.