Real estate agent sentenced for punching top Northland cop in the face

Denise Piper/Stuff

Kevin Lloyd appeared in the Kaikohe District Court on Friday. (File photo)

A real estate agent who punched a top Far North police officer in the face, in a case of mistaken identity, has failed to get his charge dismissed.

Kevin Arthur Lloyd, 27,​ was charged with assault with intent to injure for an incident against Inspector Riki Whiu​ in Paihia on April 16.

Whiu is the Far North’s Area Commander and one of the leaders of Far North family violence prevention programme Whiria te Muka (Weaving the Strands).

Denise Piper/Stuff

Far North Area Commander Inspector Riki Whiu is known as the “pa” of family violence prevention programme Whiria Te Muka (Weaving the Strands). (File photo)

Whiu was off-duty when the incident occurred. Lloyd mistook him for a man who had assaulted an associate.

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In the Kaikohe District Court on Friday, Judge Michelle Howard-Sagar​ said the summary of facts showed Lloyd approached the victim, where he was sitting at a table with his daughter, introduced himself, then asked if he knew his friend.

Denise Piper/Stuff

The incident took place in the Bay of Islands hotspot of Paihia. (File photo)

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When Whiu leaned forward to have a look at the friend, Lloyd punched him in the right eye with a closed fist, then walked away, pulling the fingers.

Whiu suffered an abrasion and swelling around the eye, and the incident had a psychological effect on him, Howard-Sagar said.

Lloyd’s lawyer Stephen Nicholson argued for his client to be discharged without conviction, saying a conviction would threaten Lloyd’s job as a real estate agent with Mike Pero Northland in Kerikeri.

He said a conviction would also impact his father, who owned the Mike Pero branch.

Nicholson argued Lloyd had no prior convictions and his good character included serving for the military.

Lloyd pleaded guilty early and wanted to be involved in restorative justice – and was taking steps to address his behaviour by attending an improvement course, he said.

But the judge said there was a moderate level of violence in the incident, which could have caused more serious injury.

“Any attack to the head or face area can have disastrous consequences,” she said.

Howard-Sagar said there was an element of premeditation in the way Lloyd approached the victim and cajoled him to lean forward.

As a professional, Lloyd should have appreciated the consequences of his actions, she said.

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“You may lose your job, but that’s a natural consequence of your behaviour,” Howard-Sagar told Lloyd.

She sentenced him to nine months’ supervision and 80 hours community work.

But she refused Stuff’s application to take a photo of Lloyd in court, saying it would add indignity to the sentence.

Lloyd first gained his real estate licence in August 2020.

According to the Mike Pero Northland’s website, he spent seven years in the Navy before returning to Kerikeri, where he was raised, to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

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