Whangārei pub assault victim left with traumatic brain injury

The assault happened at popular Whangārei drinking spot – The Judge, in April 2022. Photo / Facebook

A girl’s night out ended with one young woman suffering a traumatic brain injury after her head was slammed into a brick wall by a stranger enraged with misplaced jealousy.

On the evening of April 23, 2022, Ezarm Tango, 26, was out drinking at a local Whangārei bar, The Judge ale house, when she thought she overheard someone comment about being interested in her boyfriend.

Fueled by alcohol, Tango grabbed the young woman by the hair, dragging her to the ground.

When the victim’s friend, Lucy McKew jumped in to assist, Tango turned her attention to McKew, grabbing her hair and forcing her to her knees and proceeding to slam her head into a low-lying brick wall.


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As McKew lay on the ground, Tango continued the attack with several strikes including seven blows to the head, and a foot stomp to the body so forceful, she was left with a shoe imprint on her arm for three weeks.

McKew suffered a traumatic brain injury requiring months in and out of a concussion unit, post-traumatic stress disorder, visual impairment, panic attacks and she could not go out in public or work for several weeks.

Reading from her victim impact statement at the Whangārei District Court before Judge Deidre Orchard today, Mckew said Tango was “emotionless as she walked away laughing.”

“I felt the anger in her face each time she slammed into my skull. While her actions lasted minutes, it has had long-lasting emotional effects on me … all because she claims someone looked at her boyfriend.


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“There was no need for the night to turn so vicious, I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me,” McKew told the court.

Tango’s lawyer Jarrod Griffin said the event was “a cocktail of alcohol and violence” and although his client regretted how the evening played out, her recollection was slightly different.

“In her mind, at the time, it was in response to comments of a racial undertone along with comments on her boyfriend,” Griffin said.

Judge Orchard said Tango’s violence was extreme and she was lucky the consequences were not any worse.

“To slam a person’s head into an object like that risks permanent brain damage or death.

“I do hope this is not an everyday occurrence,” Judge Orchard said as she sentenced Tango to 10 months of home detention.


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