'It's okay Mum, I can fight Dad' - boy, 3, wanted to defend mother

By Contributor

Jharn-Ryan Ewart appeared in the Hastings District Court. Photo / NZME

By Ric Stevens, Open Justice multimedia journalist, Te Matau-a-Māui

"It's okay, Mum. I can fight Dad."

These were the words of a three-year-old boy to his mother after her ex-partner kicked his way into her house with such force that he broke the door in half and knocked it off its hinges.

Jharn-Ryan Ewart, 30, appeared in the Hastings District Court on Wednesday for sentencing after pleading guilty to two charges of breaching a protection order and one of wilful damage.

Judge Gordon Matenga said that although there was no physical violence against the woman during the attack in August, Ewart had caused significant emotional and psychological harm.

The little boy's words were included in the woman's victim impact statement which the judge summarised to the court.

"This is your three-your-old son," Judge Matenga told Ewart. "This is the example you are showing to him.

"This needs to change immediately."

He said that the boy would think badly of him growing up and asked Ewart if that was what he wanted. Ewart replied no.

The court was told that Ewart had six convictions for breaching a protection order involving his ex-partner and police had attended 15 family harm call-outs.

Judge Matenga said that the woman's ending of the relationship had "brought out the worst in you".

After Ewart forced his way into the house, the woman's new partner confronted him while she fled out a bedroom window to a neighbour, where she called police and activated a personal alarm.

Ewart left but continued to call and message her constantly for the next five hours, while she remained "terrified" because she had been unable to secure the house.

Judge Matenga said Ewart had bought an engagement ring and wanted to give it to the woman.

Ewart was sentenced to five months of home detention at a Napier address, with post-detention conditions to be assessed for a stopping violence course, and to attend any counselling as determined by a probation officer.

He was also banned from contacting the woman or travelling south of Waipawa.

Judge Matenga said it was important for Ewart to repair his relationship with his son, but that he needed to stay away for a while "to let the dust settle".