By Dave Goosselink
A 23-year-old Christchurch man has been sentenced to three years in prison, after the man he assaulted in a Dunedin McDonalds restaurant died as the result of a brain haemorrhage.
In the Dunedin High Court this morning, Matthew Bryce Larson admitted the unprovoked attack on 51-year-old Stephen Radnoty, in the early hours of March 12.
Larson had travelled from Christchurch to Dunedin for the birth of his son, and after an evening of celebrations visited the McDonalds Restaurant in George Street with friends at around 4.30am.
The group allegedly got into an argument with Mr Radnoty and his friend while waiting for their orders inside the restaurant, although neither knew each other.
Larson claimed he responded to a comment by the victim by punching him with a single blow to the right side of the head.
Mr Radnoty fell backwards onto the floor, hitting his head heavily on the hard tiled floor. He was resuscitated at the scene by paramedics after his heart and breathing stopped, but didn't regain consciousness and died shortly after in hospital as a result of a brain haemorrhage.
Larson had 27 previous convictions, including one for violence, in which he assaulted a female, and five for excess breath alcohol offences.
Justice Chisholm accepted the violent attack was not premeditated but was not justified by the single comment. He blamed the incident on all too typical "alcohol-fuelled stupidity". He noted the defendant had previous issues with alcohol abuse.
Larson was sentenced by Justice Chisholm to three years in prison for the single charge of manslaughter, after taking into account the various aggravating and mitigating circumstances.