Assault case against dancing Turk

David Barber

Wellington (dpa) – New Zealand police have decided to continue with an assault charge against a Turkish man despite his claim that he was dancing with his wife, not assaulting her.

Prosecutor Steve Michael was quoted in Tuesday’s Taranaki Daily News as saying that after viewing a DVD of the traditional Turkish kolbasti dance, the case against Allaetin Can would continue.

“We’ll put the evidence to the judge, and he’ll decide,” he said. “We take all reports of domestic violence very seriously.”

Can was remanded to August 17 when he appeared last week in court, after a passer-by called police to report that Can was assaulting his wife, Elmas, in a car park outside their kebab shop in the North Island town of Hawera.

His lawyer, Grant Vosseler, told the court they were performing a traditional Turkish dance in celebration after a particularly profitable lunch shift in the shop.

He produced a DVD with a filmed example of the kolbasti dance, which the Taranaki Daily News said included fake kicking, hitting, headlocks, throwing and falling.

The paper said the dance was believed to have originated in the 1930s in the seaport of Trabzon in north-east Turkey.

The judge said police would assess the DVD, and if they accepted his lawyer’s explanation the assault charge would be withdrawn.

Michael would not discuss details of the case before the next court appearance but said: “Based on evidence we’ve got and that it’s domestic-related, we have the evidence to prove an assault took place.”

He said it was in the public interest to continue the case.

After his first day in court, Can said, “We’re always dancing. I’m happy to dance with my wife and my family, what’s wrong with that?”

He said his wife was not able to explain the situation when questioned by police because of her poor grasp of English.

“My wife was so nervous and confused when police came, her English no good,” he said.

“Someone complain on me, I go to court for nothing. If English was good, no case.”

His wife said only, “My husband is a good man.”