Man who attacked Greens co-leader James Shaw over abortion stance sentenced to prison

The man who attacked Green Party co-leader James Shaw in Wellington has been sentenced this afternoon to nine months in prison. 

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Paul Harris repeatedly punched the Green Party co-leader in March, leaving the MP with a fractured eye socket. Source: 1 NEWS

Judge Ian Mill has granted leave for Paul Harris to apply for a substituted sentence at a later date.

The 47-year-old was sentenced in the Wellington District Court this afternoon, on a charge of injuring with intent to injure.

Harris has previously admitted punching Mr Shaw in the head repeatedly outside the Botanic Gardens while the MP was walking to work on March 14, around 7.45am.

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The Climate Change Minister was back at work today. Source: 1 NEWS

Harris did a U-turn when he was driving and parked outside the gardens, confronted Mr Shaw and grabbed him by the lapel when he turned to leave.

A police officer in court said the "prolonged" assault left Mr Shaw with a fractured eye socket and only ended when other people shouted out to intervene.

Police said there was a "small amount of pre-meditation", which Harris' lawyer Marty Robinson argued was not the case.

Mr Robinson previously said in court that Harris assaulted Mr Shaw during a period of instability for his family following a miscarriage.

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The incident raises questions about the security of other high profile ministers. Source: 1 NEWS

Today, Mr Robinson said his client views abortion as "the killing of humans" and that the Government and Green Party's abortion policy is wrong.

Judge Mill said community work was an inadequate punishment for the crime committed.

He said Harris was entitled to have his views, but not to use violence.

During sentencing, Judge Mill said a victim impact statement from Mr Shaw stated the politician is worried the incident will make him less accessible to the public and said he is less inclined to go out.

Judge Mill said the attack has had a significant effect on Mr Shaw’s loved ones and staff.

Harris interrupted Judge Mill during sentencing to question about the rights of 50 babies who “had lost their lives today".