A judge says electronic tagging and curfews should be considered for Queenstown drunks.
Judge Michael Turner blasted the excess of rotten drunken behaviour on the resort’s streets in the early hours.
Faced with another case of alcohol-related crime at Queenstown District Court on Tuesday, he said harsher sentencing was needed to get the message across and protect townspeople.
Queenstown police also criticised binge drinkers after a glut of incidents over Queen’s Birthday weekend.
They included a six-man punch-up, assaults, drink driving, breaches of the liquor ban, drunken thefts, taxi run-offs and one man who was too smashed to use his eftpos card to pay for a pie he had eaten.
The judge’s comments were made while he was dealing with Alexandra men who’d climbed on the roof of McDonald’s in Frankton.
An exasperated Judge Turner says: “This must be the sixth I’ve seen today, out on the streets of Queenstown rotten drunk, behaving in a drunken way.”
Dion Bradford, 20, and Regan Hunter, 19, both of Alexandra, admitted climbing on to the roof after complaining about the wait for their food. Hunter also threw food around the restaurant.
They were ordered to pay $300 each to the franchisee for emotional harm and told if they were in trouble again within the next nine months a community detention sentence – a curfew enforced by tagging – would be considered to keep them off the streets.
“I imagine the people of Queenstown are sick of this sort of behaviour, drinking, nuisance behaviour, keeping the courts full and the police busy.”
Hunter was also convicted of disorderly behaviour and fined $150.
Use your loaf
A drunken thief who stole a $2.50 loaf of bread was left counting the cost after being ordered to pay $150 by the court.
Security officer John Kelly, of Cardrona, pinched the loaf from the Night and Day store on Shotover Street, Queenstown, in April. He admitted stuffing the bread under his jumper, leaving the store and then throwing it on a nearby building.
Judge Turner ordered him to pay the cash to the store owners for emotional harm but then discharged him without conviction, saying a conviction for the theft of a $2.50 loaf was silly. Kelly was ineligible for a diversion.
Teen unable to pay taxi
An Arrowtown 18-year-old was spoken to by officers after catching a taxi home from Queenstown without any means to pay the fare. Senior constable Chris Blackford says: “He had been out drinking and when it came time to pay the taxi driver he had no money on his eftpos.” Arrangements were made for the teen to pay the $65 when he had been paid.
Brawl in The Mall
Police arrested three men after an ugly brawl in The Mall, Queenstown, in the early hours of Saturday. Officers were called after six men were seen fighting at about 3am. They managed to apprehend three.
Embarrassment for student
A Dunedin student was stopped by police on Gorge Road on Sunday morning while trying to get into a car. The 19-year-old was confused that his keys would not work, before realising he was trying to get into the wrong car.
More town drunks
A Cromwell man was charged with assault and resisting arrest after an incident outside Fergburger on Sunday at 4.15am.
A Christchurch woman was arrested outside The World Bar in the early hours of Monday after arguing. She was charged with disorderly behaviour and breaching the liquor ban.
Officers also charged two men, from Australia and Winton, with breaching the liquor ban in Queenstown on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The 20-year-old from Sydney had been warned and told to put his drink in the bin. He did, before walking across the road, pulling another can from his jacket and opening it.