Assault with a prickly weapon

A New Zealand man has been accused of assaulting a boy by throwing a hedgehog at him.

Police say William Singalargh, 27, threw the hedgehog at the 15-year-old boy in the North Island east coast town of Whakatane.

"It hit the victim in the leg, causing a large, red welt and several puncture marks," police Senior Sgt Bruce Jenkins said. The teenager did not need medical treatment.

Police arrested Singalargh shortly after the incident on 9 February and charged him with assault with a weapon - "namely the hedgehog", Sgt Jenkins said.

At a hearing in Whakatane District Court on February 14, Singalargh's lawyer said he intended to plead not guilty, The Herald on Sunday newspaper reported.

The case is due to resume on 17 April. If convicted, he faced up to five years in prison, Sgt Jenkins said.

"People often get charged with assault for throwing things at other people," he said, although he admitted the use of a hedgehog as a weapon was "uncommon".

It was unclear if he also would face animal cruelty charges. The Herald said the hedgehog was dead when it was collected as evidence, but did not know if it was dead or alive at the time of the alleged attack.

The Herald reported Singalargh's arrest under the headline: "Raise your hands and step away from the hedgehog."

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