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Expensive night:: Sergeant Simon Matheson, of Queenstown, with some of the police patrol vehicles damaged by Liam Christopher McGregor in July

By GUY WILLIAMS

An Oamaru building apprentice who stomped on the windscreens of eight cars at Queenstown’s cop-shop will be given a discharge without conviction once he’s fully paid for the damage.

Liam Christopher McGregor, 18, was sentenced by Judge John Brandts-Giesen in Queenstown’s court last Monday after he admitted nine charges stemming from his July 18 rampage: eight of causing intentional damage to the vehicles, and one of resisting arrest.

He was sitting outside the Camp Street Night’n Day about 3am when he yelled obscenities and gesticulated at two cops in a passing patrol car.

When they stopped and asked him if he was OK, he abused them and spat in one officer’s face.

After they were called to another incident nearby, he followed and continued to hurl abuse.

He then went to the police station’s carpark and filmed himself with his phone as he jumped on the cars.

His lawyer, Megan McCrostie, said the offending was spontaneous, and caused by drinking heavily while on medication.

A social media post he made after his first court appearance — which included a photograph, taken before the damage was done to the vehicles, of the defendant with a police officer, including the words ‘‘RIP this dude’s car’’ — was ‘‘regrettable and foolish’’.

But he had no previous convictions, had made efforts to rehabilitate himself, and had paid more than half the $10,000 he owned in reparation.

Convictions would be detrimental to his mental health, future employability and ability to travel overseas, McCrostie argued.

Prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin said the region’s top cop, inspector Paula Enoka, had reviewed the case and decided police would take a neutral stance to the discharge application.

The unusual step recognised the defendant had ‘‘knuckled down’’ and made progress to wards addressing his issues.

Brandts-Giesen agreed with Collin’s request the discharge be granted once McGregor had
paid all the reparation owing, as well as making a $1000 emotional harm payment to one of the constables.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz