Cooking dinner argument leads to domestic violence


A Frankton man assaulted his partner after an argument over how long it was taking to cook sausages.

Miriam Allen Nielsen and her former husband Derek James Nielsen both appeared on assault charges in Queenstown District Court today.

The court heard that the couple had been drinking at their Frankton Motor Camp home on September 30.

“At about 11.30pm she was waiting for her husband to cook her meal. [Miriam] became unhappy about the length of time it was taking to cook the meal,” prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says.

Police summary of facts state that Miriam punched her husband in the face as a result, and Derek threw a plate at her head.

But Miriam’s lawyer Sonia Vidal told Judge Michael Turner that Miriam claims her husband punched her in the mouth in bed before he eventually threw a plate at her.

“He’d assaulted her a number of times, she lost it, she got out of bed and for the first time she retaliated,” Vidal says.

She suffered a cut to the head from the plate and Derek had a bleeding nose.

Derek has prior violence convictions against his wife in 2010 and 2011, including assault, assault with a weapon, threatening to kill and grievous bodily harm. The couple have been together on and off for 20 years.

Judge Michael Turner convicted Derek and remanded him on bail till November 5 for sentencing – likely to be a sentence of imprisonment, he says.

While he said he did not condone Miriam’s assault on her husband, she was remanded without conviction and ordered her to complete anti-violence and domestic abuse victim courses.

Man steals from employer – case one

A Queenstown supervisor who ripped off The Warehouse will have his identity kept secret till after his wife gives birth.

The 32-year-old man, who worked for The Warehouse in Frankton, admitted obtaining by deception after undertaking 10 fraudulent returns at the store between August and September.

He used his authority to return items not already purchased worth $393 – and pocketed the money.

During this time he “returned” batteries, a t-shirt, a Freeview decoder, seven Kodak memory cards, a breakfast set, shaving cream, oil, socks, gift bag, candle and lunchbox.

Lawyer Phena Byrne told the court that the man was under financial pressure, which led him to steal from his employer.

She asked for interim name suppression because his wife is due to give birth within the next eight days. Judge Turner approved the interim name suppression order.

He was fined $500 plus court costs of $132 and ordered to pay reparation of $393.

Man steals from employer – case two

A Phillipino man living in Queenstown has admitted stealing from his former workplace.

Jason Santos, 32, worked for Night n Day Queenstown. Between August 23 and September 9, he ate $200 worth of expired food behind the counter while he worked the night shift.

He also stole $360 worth of Vodafone pre-pay top-up vouchers, which he would print off for himself when a customer would buy an item of the same amount.

He was caught out when the store manager did a stocktake and noticed discrepancies, which then prompted a review of CCTV footage.

Santos was convicted and fined $400 plus court costs, and ordered to pay $360 in reparation.

Tourist steals from tourist

A German tourist has been fined $150 for stealing money from another tourist in a Queenstown bar.

Annelie Kathrin Uhlig, 21, pleaded guilty to stealing a wallet containing cards and cash from another tourist’s handbag on October 3 at World Bar.

Uhlig, who had been in the resort for two weeks, spotted the woman’s handbag on a seat, took it to the toilet and removed cash and cards from the wallet. She was eventually caught by door staff and in explanation to police, she said she did it because she had no money.

Judge Turner told Uhlig: “This type of behaviour will give this area of the country a bad reputation. Tourists come here expecting to enjoy themselves, not to have their property stolen – especially from another tourist.”

‘Quit-smoking medication made me do it’

A Kelvin Heights man blamed quit-smoking medication for a dangerous drink-driving episode last month.

James Charles Andrews, 42, pleaded guilty to a charge of drink-driving and dangerous driving after a witness followed him home on September 23.

The self-employed roofer was spotted driving his car erratically and on the wrong side of Peninsula Road at 70kmh before hitting a kerb and re-correcting his car to the correct lane. He continued at that speed through quiet streets till he got to his home address.

Noticing that he’d been followed by a concerned member of the public, Andrews reversed his car 50m and crashed into his neighbour’s vehicle, which was parked next to where the witness was parked.

He spoke to the witness and then ran off into a nearby reserve. Police located him after an hours’ search.

He produced a reading of 198 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80ml.

Andrews’ lawyer Mike Newell told the court that his client had just given up smoking and was taking diazepam, “which may have affected his judgement that night”.

“He certainly had far too much to drink.”

Judge Turner told Andrews: “This was appalling driving. You put the lives of innocent road users at risk.”

He fined him $1250, ordered him to pay $141 in medical fees and disqualified him from driving for nine months.

More drink-driving 

A Queenstown woman faces a sentence of community detention after being caught drink-driving at more than three times the legal limit.

Cassandra Wynne, 29, was stopped by police at 3.32am on September 8 on Wiltshire Street in Arrowtown.

She was found to have 252mg of alcohol per 100ml blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

Wynne’s lawyer Phena Byrne told Judge Turner that Wynne was “astounded” at the amount of alcohol and she went back to the New Orleans Hotel to review CCTV footage to count the number of wines she’d drunk. She didn’t believe what she’d consumed could produce such a high reading, Byrne says.

Judge Turner didn’t accept that explanation: “That indicates to me that you have an alcohol problem,” he told Wynne.

He remanded her till November 19 for sentencing.

Andrew Torquil Cumming, 28, Frankton, caught driving on Lake Esplanade on August 24 with a blood alcohol reading of 134 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Sentenced to 80 hours’ community work, ordered to pay $173 for medical fees and disqualified for six months.