Lincoln Anderson punched a security guard at Middlemore Hospital in 2021 when he was asked to leave because of Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: LDR / Jarred Williamson
Lincoln Anderson had only been 18 for a month when he drunkenly assaulted a hospital security guard, punching the man in the mouth, breaking his dental plate and knocking out teeth.
The teen had been visiting family in 2021 when he was asked by the guard to leave Middlemore Hospital because of Covid-19 restrictions.
The court heard today how Anderson got angry, lashed out and punched the victim in the mouth.
Judge Bruce Davidson said it was a painful assault and the guard needed costly reconstruction surgery afterwards.
Anderson, who is now 20, was in the Wellington District Court being sentenced for the assault and two other unrelated charges of possessing an offensive weapon and tagging.
Nearly a year on from the assault Anderson, who was a Black Power prospect at the time, was carrying a small axe around an Auckland shopping mall during the lunchtime rush. He dumped the weapon in a bin which was found by the police. His most recent offending was when he tagged the fence of a service station in Waiouru at the beginning of the year.
Defence lawyer Raphael Solomon asked for a discharge without conviction saying Anderson was still a young person who had “a very difficult start to life”.
Solomon said his client was due to be a father early next year and wished to pursue employment opportunities in Australia, doing electrical work at a family-owned vape store.
Anderson was working toward a better life path, Solomon argued, and the young man had moved to the capital to distance himself from the gang life.
His connections to Black Power meant he was involved in behaviour “he very much regrets now”, according to Solomon.
“To be saddled with convictions would be a significant impairment for his ability to move on with his life,” Solomon said.
Police opposed the application and said the offending was serious.
Judge Davidson declined his application for a discharge without conviction and agreed the man’s offending, particularly the assault on the security guard, was serious.
He was convicted and given eight months’ supervision.
“Security staff operating in hospitals and the like are exposed to significant pressure and are entitled to expect the courts will respond appropriately when someone is charged,” Judge Davidson said.
Anderson will attend counselling and courses during his period of supervision.
His sentencing comes after senior doctors last week called for security guards to be posted around the clock in every emergency department (ED) in New Zealand following an increase in abuse and assaults against medical staff.
The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) cited data from Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand showing there were 7,125 assaults against public health employees recorded between April 2021 and April 2023. While those figures covered all hospital services, not just EDs, EDs are among the departments with the highest rates of violence and aggression.
Hazel Osborne is an Open Justice reporter for NZME and is based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. She joined the Open Justice team at the beginning of 2022, previously working in Whakatāne as a court and crime reporter in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.