Guilty pleas in jetboat crash case


Two commercial jetboat drivers have admitted charges in Queenstown District Court after a collision injuring passengers earlier this year.

Ex-Dart River Jet Safaris drivers Simon Thomas Collins, of Cromwell, and Shayle Andrew Thompson, of Queenstown, were jointly charged with operating two boats in a manner which caused unnecessary danger or risk to the occupants of the ship and others on the Dart River on January 4.

The charge carries with it a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment.

Defence counsel Dale Lloyd, representing Thompson, 39, told the court it’s been hanging over the defendants’ heads for seven months, they’d entered pleas at the earliest opportunity and were eager to have it dealt with.

Collins, 26, and Thompson admitted the charges on the basis a draft summary of facts was still being negotiated. Both men are no longer employed by the company.

Judge Michael Turner remanded both men at large to appear in the Queenstown District Court on August 26 for sentencing.

Of 11 passengers on one of the boats at the time, one suffered a broken collarbone and several suffered bruising – the other boat just had one driver on board.

Two of the passengers were taken to Lakes District Hospital as a precaution.

Busted for ski pass fraud

A Queenstown bar worker has admitted fraudulent use of a ski pass.

Michael Sinclair Couper, 20, of Australia, admitted using an NZSki season pass that wasn’t his for The Remarkables snow field on July 19.

Defence counsel Sonia Vidal says Couper was on a working holiday, employed at World Bar.

After it was destroyed by fire, Couper spent all his money on rent and supporting himself.

Couper obtained work at a hostel where he met a guest who owned the season’s pass but was due to leave. The guest offered the pass to Couper, who accepted it and used it once.

Vidal says he was “immediately cooperative’’ when caught.

Judge Michael Turner convicted Couper and also ordered him to pay $93 reparation for the day’s skiing.

Boat burglary sentence

A kitchenhand must do 100 hours’ community work after admitting burglary of a boat in Queenstown Bay.

Dunedin’s Alex Cameron Fraser, 19, must also undergo nine months’ supervision and pay reparation plus money for emotional harm after the Pacific Jemm burglary on June 5.

Fraser was jointly charged with 22-year-old Joshua Black, a Queenstown chef.

Black was this week remanded to September 9 for sentencing, seeking a discharge without conviction.

Defence counsel Sonia Vidal says the offending was a “drunken and poorly informed decision”.

The two colleagues, who’d lost their jobs at a Queenstown restaurant, entered the boat after a work function through a side door, removing alcohol and other items.

Judge Turner told Fraser, also a music student in Dunedin, the charge carried a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment: “Had there been any suggestion you’d done something to this boat that endangered lives, you’d be going to prison.”

Fraser must complete an alcohol and drug assessment and pay $1118 reparation and $200 for emotional harm.

A victim, who lived on the boat, wasn’t there at the time.

Ball-squeezer pinged

An Irishman has been pinged for assault after squeezing the nuts of a Queenstown police officer.

Conor Noel Lafferty, of Ireland, was ejected from a bar because of intoxication down Cow Lane at 2.30am on July 25 when the incident occurred, sergeant Grant Gerken told Queenstown District Court.

Police arrived to find him arguing with door staff – when warned he’d be arrested, Lafferty yelled at officers before being arrested and taken to the police station.

At the station, Gerken says he continued to be argumentative and abusive before he “grabbed hold of [constable Terrence Erceg’s] genitals and squeezed hard”.

Lafferty’s lawyer Mike Newell says Lafferty admitted over-indulging and was remorseful for the trouble.

Judge Turner sentenced him to 40 hours’ community work on the disorderly charge and 60 hours’ community work on the assault, to be served at the same time.

The judge also advised probation to notify Immigration and ordered Lafferty not to leave New Zealand until the sentence was complete.

That’s not sporting.

A 27-YEAR-OLD unemployed Cromwell man was convicted of taking sports fish from Lake Wakatipu without a licence last year.

Hayden Evan Janson was charged under the Conservation Act for taking sports fish at the 12 Mile Delta Creek on November 25.

The court heard a ranger at Lake Wakatipu’s 12 Mile Delta saw him actively engaged in bait fishing.

Janson told the ranger he usually bought a licence but hadn’t this year.

Otago Fish and Game Council costs for investigating and dealing with it were $2615.09 for staff time, tracing and service fees, and legal fees.

Judge Turner fined Janson $650 plus $250 towards the costs of prosecution and ordered forfeiture of his equipment.

Drink-driving busts

Eleanor Amy Brinsley, 20, of Arthurs Point, 632mcg, on Gorge Road, July 20, was convicted and remanded on bail to September 23 for sentence.

Kimberley Michelle Vigil, 24, of the United States, 521mcg, on Stanley Street, August 9, was fined $500 and disqualified for six months.

Cardrona crash driver denied

THE driver of a vehicle in a head-on collision on the Cardrona Valley Rd last month has been denied bail.

Judge Michael Turner in the Queenstown District Court denied bail to James Bradley Creighton, 23, of Lake Hawea – the plumber had been due to appear for sentencing on separate charges of burglary, theft, breaching bail and driving while suspended between January 1 and June 17 this year.

Sentencing was unable to be carried out because of an absence of a pre-sentence report _ which hadn’t been completed as Creighton was in hospital receiving treatment for injuries sustained in the crash.

Creighton had broken one of his femurs in two places and fractured his right ankle and left wrist.

Creighton was charged with reckless driving causing injury to Alice Scott-Jupp, Andrew Dryden, Laurel Littlejohn and Richard Clark, who were flown to Dunedin Hospital following the crash. Creighton faced a further charge of driving while suspended on the Cardrona Valley Rd on July 24. Police opposed bail.

Defence counsel Sonia Vidal says she understood police were concerned Creighton may attempt to drive again while on bail.

However, given his injuries, he was physically incapable of driving.

Following a bail hearing, details of which were suppressed by Judge Turner, Creighton was remanded in custody and scheduled to appear in the Invercargill District Court on September 3.

Biter gets community work

An Englishman in town on a work visa has pleaded guilty after biting a Queenstown bar staffer.

Plumbing sub-contractor Alexander James Hibbert, 21, was sentenced to community work for assaulting Peter Mitchell and Daniel Hughes on July 14 at Queenstown. 

Judge Turner sentenced him to 40 hours’ community work on each charge and ordered he pay $250 for emotional harm. 

– Otago Daily Times