Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 10:07 UK

NZ hedgehog assault man is fined


A man who attacked a teenage boy with a hedgehog has been fined by a New Zealand court.

William Singalargh, 27, had asked his victim if he wanted to "wear a hedgehog helmet" before hurling the animal at the 15-year-old on 9 February.

Police said the boy was hit in the leg, causing a large, red welt and puncture marks in the confrontation the North Island city of Whakatane.

Singalargh was convicted of assault and offensive behaviour.

The court heard that when the boy's mother had intervened to protect her son during the attack, Singalargh pulled down his trousers and exposed his buttocks, AFP news agency reported.

He had denied throwing the hedgehog but Judge Ian Thomas preferred the evidence of witnesses who identified Singalargh by the bright orange trousers he had been wearing.

He was fined 700 NZ dollars ($545; 275), of which he was ordered to pay 500 NZ dollars ($389; 196) to the victim.

A more serious charge of assault with a weapon - the hedgehog - was dropped. It carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

It was unclear whether the hedgehog was still alive when it was thrown, though police said it was dead when collected as evidence.

NZ man 'used hedgehog as weapon'
07 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: New Zealand
16 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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