Careless driving accelerated woman’s death

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A Queenstown woman has admitted her careless driving caused a crash which pathologists say “may well have” shortened the life of an elderly woman. 

Kathryn Sarah Butler, 27, of White­chapel Road, Crown Terrace, pleaded guilty to the charge at Queenstown District Court on Monday. 

Butler says she failed to spot a car driven by 84-year-old Margaret Shave when she pulled out of a junction on the morning of April 20. 

The oncoming car ploughed into Butler’s driver’s side door. Shave suffered three fractured ribs and died in hospital seven weeks later. 

A pathologist’s report concluded the crash may have accelerated her death but did not cause it. 

Butler, a computer professional, was convicted and remanded on bail until August 13, when she is likely to be sentenced to community detention. 

Cannabis accused in dock 

A Queenstown man charged in relation to a large-scale cannabis growing operation has appeared in court. 

Brian Anthony McCarthy, 62, of Arthurs Point, faces 19 charges of cultivating the drug in Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland and Western Southland, and two charges of conspiracy to sell it. 

McCarthy was arrested in June after Operation Canary – a four-year-long police investigation targeting a huge commercial cannabis operation thought to be linked to a multi-million dollar syndicate. 

The court papers give GPS reference points to identify where the cannabis was allegedly grown, in Arthurs Point, Glenorchy, Redcliffe, Monowai and Rarakaw. 

Judge Michael Turner granted an extension to allow police to submit formal written statements. 

McCarthy was remanded on bail to reappear at a post-committal conference on September 12. 

During Operation Canary, police recovered 300 cannabis plants and identified a further 500 plants. Cops believe the syndicate responsible has grown more than 1000 plants, producing cannabis with a potential street value of about $4.5 million. 

Glenorchy man Andrew John Grant, 51, is jointly charged with cultivating cannabis. 

Brodie Raymond Anderson, 23, of Mossburn, faces 42 charges of offering to sell cannabis, three of cultivating and 17 of possessing it for sale or offering to sell it. 

Accountant David Christopher James Payne, 42, of Invercargill, faces 11 charges of cultivating cannabis and one of possessing it for sale or offering to sell it. He’s also jointly charged with 11 counts of cultivation. 

Drunks and disorderly 

Three Saudi Arabian men who vomited and urinated all over themselves and a police cell were among the boozed-up miscreants causing trouble in Queenstown. 

The men, aged 19, 28 and 29, were so drunk an ambulance had to be called to Cow Lane at midnight on Friday. 

Senior Constable Chris Blackford says: “One of the men came around but still in an alcoholic daze he continued to make noises like a prehistoric bird.” 

They were taken to the cells for detox, and then forced to clean the cells before being released the next morning. 

Officers also broke up an alleged fight at a taxi rank after an indignant man threw a burger at two men who he believed to be queue jumping. 

The two men got out of the taxi and allegedly assaulted the 33-year-old burger thrower, at about 4am on Wednesday.
“Taxi rage is more prevalent than road rage in this town,” says Blackford. 

They will appear in court later this month. 

Police are still looking for a runaway man after he punched a woman in the forehead last Thursday morning. The 20-year-old woman was taken to Lakes District Hospital to have her forehead glued after the incident outside Fergburger. 

CCTV footage is being reviewed after the man escaped up Shotover St.