Two Scandinavian thugs have been put behind bars to send a message to trouble-making travellers.
Denmark’s Jesper Jensen, 21, and Frank Stoel, 21, from the Netherlands, were both jailed for a month – but will serve just 14 days – after pleading guilty to a joint assault charge in Queenstown District Court yesterday (Monday).
The court heard how the drunken travellers had a verbal stoush with local bartender, Canadian Mark Hansen outside Fergburger at about 4.20am on April 3.
Jensen and Hansen met in the middle of the street to talk when Stoel came flying in and sideswiped Hansen in the face. In the attack that followed, Hansen landed on the ground where Stoel continued to beat him.
Hansen, 21, suffered a swollen lip, scratches to his face and bruising. Hansen has since been charged with disorderly behaviour in relation to the incident.
Neither of the visitors have previous criminal records here or overseas.
“What I don’t understand is why young people with good character come to New Zealand, get very drunk and then beat people up,” Judge Dominic Flatley said.
The court has used personal reparation and shipping offenders overseas as punishments in the past, he added.
“Perhaps it’s time for the court to up the ante. This has to stop.”
“It needs to be a short, sharp shock to you both and send the message to you and others in your situation that enough is enough.
“It’s a privilege to be in this country…and we have people like you ruining the reputation of Queenstown.
“It’s supposed to be known as a place of beauty…it’s not supposed to be the capital of street violence”.
Jensen’s lawyer Steve Rollo argued that his “extremely intoxicated” client played a much lesser part in the beating, only hitting Hansen once and later pulling Stoel off the victim.
Jensen also had a brother who was killed in action two years ago while serving in the Danish Army in Afghanistan.
The offender had battled depression, had very “pro-social views” and the attack went against his nature, Rollo argued.
But Flatley didn’t distinguish between the two men during sentencing.
Flatley: “Mr Jensen can’t explain why he did what he did. Similarly, Mr Stoel doesn’t have an explanation for becoming as violent as he did.”
The men were also ordered to pay $500 each in emotional harm reparation to Hansen.