Drunk who takes car and then alerts cops gets off

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A boozed Wakatipu man who took a car that wasn’t his – and later alerted police to a suspicious vehicle in his driveway – has escaped penalty. 

Arrowtowner Ryan Glendining Jardine, 30, hopped into a stranger’s Toyota Corolla at the Frankton BP petrol station and drove home at about 9.30am on March 27, Queenstown District Court heard today (Monday). He took the car after failed attempts to get cash via his credit card at the BP. 

Police told the court Jardine was so drunk after celebrating an engagement party that when he woke up at 2.30pm the next day he couldn’t recall driving the 20km home in someone else’s car – so he phoned police to report a strange vehicle outside his house. 

“You must’ve drunk an awful lot of alcohol. How you did what you did is beyond me,” Judge Dominic Flatley told him. 

“That’s one of the best stories I’ve heard so far in this job”. 

An embarrassed Jardine was initially charged with dishonestly taking the Toyota, but got diversion – a process in which first-time offenders facing a minor charge get to keep a clean slate. 

Judge Flatley dished out an $800 fine plus court costs and disqualified him from driving for six months for pleading guilty to driving a motor vehicle on State Highway 6 while under the influence to such an extreme as to be incapable of having proper control. 

Backpacker car burglar gets prison

A Cromwell man who stole from backpackers’ cars at a popular Queenstown tourist spot has been sentenced to eight months’ prison.

Ricky John Colson, 27, “let down” Judge Dominic Flatley with his latest offending, which follows a four-month jail stint last year for similar crimes.

Colson had earlier pleaded guilty in Queenstown District Court to stealing clothing and property valued at $3125 from cars at 12 Mile Delta on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road on December 12 last year, plus possessing spotting knives and cannabis on January 26 this year.

Judge Flatley told Colson he remembered dealing with him a couple of years ago for theft-from-vehicle offences, when Colson promised to clean up his act.

“That hasn’t worked. You have let me down there,” Judge Flatley says.

A jail sentence was “the only possible option” – especially after he stole from cars in August last year and was imprisoned for four months.

Colson’s offending was “completely unacceptable”, he adds.

“It has a terrible impact on the tourism industry, the good name of Queenstown and New Zealand in general. It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of people visiting here.”

Colson’s lawyer Tony Oxnevad says his client recognises “it was a stupid thing to do and is remorseful for his actions”.

“He’s keen to overcome his drug and alcohol problems.

“He is motivated to quit his drug and alcohol habits when he is released from prison.”

Snowboarder’s stealing despicable 

A Queenstown snowboarder was told to “grow up” by Judge Flatley after stealing a tourist’s handbag from a local bar. 

Bartender Jonathan Budd, 20, pleaded guilty to stealing an unattended handbag belonging to partying tourist Nicola McMullan from nightspot Debajo bar about 4am on May 20 and resisting a policeman. 

In Queenstown District Court today, Judge Flatley described Budd’s actions as “despicable”. 

“You went in and took someone’s gear, they were having a good time socialising…it’s not acceptable.

“This person was a visitor to New Zealand having a good time and it’s appalling. It gives this place a bad name,” Judge Flatley adds. 

According to the cops, Budd grabbed the bag and scarpered outside. He handed a camera from the bag to a 21-year-old local woman and told her to run when McMullan noticed her bag was missing and chased Budd outside.
The victim pursued the pair down Rees Street. When later collared by the cops, Budd put up a struggle. 

Budd, the son of Destination Queenstown’s marketing boss Graham Budd, has recently returned from chasing powder in the Northern Hemisphere. 

He was sentenced to 175 hours community work for each charge to be served concurrently.

Cafe boss caught boozing 

The manger of a popular Queenstown café has been disqualified from driving after downing post-work beers then driving. 

Joe’s Garage manager Cara Colquhoun, 29, was pinged with a reading of 686 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath when backing out of a Camp Street carpark on May 4. 

She was sentenced to 100 hours community work, nine months supervision, disqualified from driving for nine months and ordered to continue drug and alcohol counselling.

Manager done for theft 

An ex-manager of local store Betty’s Liquor has been fined for theft between July and September last year. 

Raewyn Walters, 29, changed her plea to guilty for stealing a total of $47.42 over that period. She was ordered to pay that amount in reparations and fined $250 plus courts costs. 

Judge Flatley told unemployed Walters that having to reveal she has a conviction for theft in the future will “impact you for the rest of your lifetime”.

Kelvin Heights man returns to repay old debt

A Kelvin Heights man who returned from overseas to face up to a seven-year-old crime was sentenced in Queenstown District Court today.

South African-born Ian Rogers, 50, must complete 350 hours’ community work and pay a total of $12,459 in reparation for two charges of obtaining for pecuniary advantage – one dating back to 2004.

Back then, Rogers had sold a boat that he owed money on without telling the new owners, the court heard. He received $17,000 and when the boat was repossessed from the new owners, Rogers failed to repay the money.

“At the time I had other problems and I had to pay off other debts that I had,” he told Judge Dominic Flatley.

He left the country for several years, only returning after Christmas last year.

“I came back because somebody’s been bugging me for a long time,” Rogers says.

“Queenstown’s a small place and I wanted to come back and sort it all out.

“I’m not a bad person, I just made a stupid mistake at the time.”

Judge Flatley replied: “Well, it’s not really a mistake, it’s a stupid decision.”

Rogers has already paid back $5000 and as a labourer for Allied Work Force, plans to repay the remaining $12,000 at $100 a week.

Rogers also faced a second pecuniary advantage charge for unlawfully using another man’s Alpine Supermarket charge account between January 1 and January 31 this year – claiming goods to the value of $459.

Drink-driver gets community detention

A Queenstown drink-driver who crashed his car while carrying a passenger has been sentenced in Queenstown District Court today.

Cody John Craighead, 23, had earlier pleaded guilty to driving with an excess breath alcohol of 1024 micrograms, causing minor damage and injuries, on February 23.

After drinking all afternoon at his Fernhill address, Craighead got into his car with a female friend and proceeded to drive to his friend’s house, 700 metres down the road on Arawata Terrace.

He crashed into the letterbox as he pulled into her driveway, and as the victim asked him to let her out, Craighead ignored her, court papers say.

He then reversed the car on to Arawata Tce, and as he tried to turn left on to Fernhill Road, Craighead hit the kerb. He crashed into a concrete marker, which caused the victim to hit her head on the steering wheel and suffer whiplash.

Craighead’s lawyer Tony Oxnevad told Judge Flatley that his client “takes the situation very, very seriously”.

“Fortunately there were no serious injuries but he certainly recognizes that it could have been serious. He knows that this cannot happen again.”

Judge Flatley told Craighead he needed to hand down a sentence that attended to his “serious alcohol and mental health issues”.

He ordered him to do four months’ community detention in Dunedin, 100 hours’ community work and 15 months intensive supervision to include drug and alcohol counselling. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.