Arrowtowner could be locked up after knocking man out

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An Arrowtown rugby player could face prison after punching out a Cromwell man who ended up unconscious. 

Anare Elers, 20, appeared in Queenstown District Court today (Monday) for hitting the man at a Cromwell bar after his Arrowtown side – fresh from its game against Maniototo – stopped off for drinks. 

A Cromwell team was also downing post-match drinks at the pub and verbal banter was exchanged between the teams, the court heard. 

Police say at about 10.30pm, without provocation Elers hit the victim in the side of the head. 

As the man fell, he smacked his head into a schist stone wall, requiring five stitches. He was knocked unconscious, the left-hand side of his face was swollen and he had lacerations inside his mouth. 

Elers, a scaffolder, has been on ACC for the past three months and he told a probation officer he couldn’t do community work. 

Since community sentence wasn’t an option, Judge Dominic Flatley said Elers was “at risk of losing your liberty”. 

Elers was convicted and will appear for sentencing on June 27.

Backpacker employee pockets purse

An Englishman working in a Queenstown backpackers has pleaded guilty to stealing money from a girl while she slept. 

In the early hours of April 24, former Nomads Queenstown Backpackers employee James Nicholson, 23, let himself into the room where tourist Emily Wood was asleep and pocketed her purse containing $400 and AU$50. 

The purse was later found in the men’s toilets and video surveillance snapped Nicholson entering the room, Queenstown District Court heard. 

Police said the victim’s holiday had been “tarnished” and the theft “smears the good name” of the resort. 

“There is a victim here who was horrified by what happened and the fact he was an employee,” Judge Flatley 
said. 

“I think there is an impact on our tourism industry with this sort of thing. I don’t think it should be swept under the carpet.” 

Nicholson, who had already repaid the backpacker more than was stolen, was convicted and discharged.

“It seems that in all other respects he’s a good member of the community,” Judge Flatley commented.

Drink driving and dirty mouth

Yelling profanity at police and driving drunk have landed Michael Richard Howzen the second more than $1500 in fines. 

The American pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour after he hurled abuse at two police officers who escorted him from the station after he refused to leave. 

He then got nabbed by cops drink driving on Memorial Street at about 2am on April 22, the court heard. 

Judge Flatley described the language of the university graduate, in New Zealand on a working visa, as “appalling”.
“What you said was appalling, degrading. It’s a privilege to be in this country and have a work permit and this sort of behaviour is just unacceptable.” 

Despite claims he didn’t have funds to pay a fine, Howzen, who plans to live in the country until January, was ordered to pay $900 plus court costs and medical expenses and disqualified for six months for his drink driving charge. 

He was also fined $450 for disorderly behaviour.

Girlfriend smacked

A plasterer pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend after she refused to return his car keys. 

Christopher McGregor from Lake Hayes Estate was driving along Frankton Road last Friday at 2.30am with his girlfriend and another male passenger in the car. 

His girlfriend asked him to stop at the Mobile service station after complaining about his driving. 

She took the keys from the ignition, and her and the other passenger went to the other side of the road. 

McGregor, 19, attempted to get the keys off her and ended up in a scrap with the other passenger. 

The court heard when she tried to break up the fight, the girlfriend was struck in the side of the head with a closed fist. After the altercation, the girlfriend was left with a bleeding nose and ripped jacket. 

McGregor was sentenced to nine months supervision, drug and alcohol intervention, anger management counselling and 40 hours community work. 

“You need to sort yourself out Mr McGregor, or…your liberty is going to be put at risk,” Judge Flatley stated.