Appeal by Olympian’s brother dismissed


A boozy student’s bid to overturn a conviction in part so he can see his world champion sister compete at the Rio Olympics has been rejected.

Otago University student Jeremy Stuart Edward, 22, intends to go and watch brilliant rower Julia Edward go for gold in the women’s lightweight double.

But he fears his conviction for obstructing a police officer on an Easter weekend trip to Queenstown in 2015 could affect his future travel plans and also employment prospects.

Edward had mouthed off and interfered as sergeant Blair Duffy attempted to arrest his friend, who’d been urinating on a wall.

He was also rude and obnoxious at the police station.

Edward was initially denied diversion, having had three previous police warnings for his behaviour and a discharge without conviction for wilful damage.

The officer noted alcohol was a factor in those incidents. The police position changed and he was offered diversion.

However, the position changed again three days later when Edward was again charged with obstructing an officer. The offer was withdrawn.

Edward was convicted and fined $500 in November.

Lawyer Fiona Guy Kidd appealed the sentence to the High Court and sought a discharge without conviction.

She says Edward believes diversion should have been offered to him again on the “relatively minor matter” once the second charge was withdrawn.

Justice Rachel Dunningham, in her written decision, says: “The initial decision to decline the diversion was open to police given the lenience previously shown to Mr Edward, and the subsequent events which prompted both the offer, and then the withdrawal, do not alter that.

“There is no injustice to be remedied and I consider this factor is not relevant to my decision-making.”

Dunningham considered whether a conviction was out of proportion compared to the offending.

She assessed the offending as moderate to low.

Consequences put forward were “generalised assertions” he would like in future to work overseas in the finance sector, so a conviction may jeopardise job prospects.

But Dunningham thinks they’re too speculative to demonstrate any adverse consequences.

“The only specific travel plan is the possibility of Mr Edward travelling to the Rio Olympics, where his sister will be participating.

“However, there is no evidence before the court as to what difficulties, if any, his conviction would cause in that regard.”

Dunningham dismisses the appeal, saying the consequences are not significantly different from those any young person might experience with such a conviction.