The Queenstown bouncer found guilty over the Rugby World Cup bar footage scandal says he has no regrets about fighting the charge.
An Invercargill District Court jury found infamous Queenstown doorman Jonathan Dixon guilty this afternoon of accessing a computer system dishonestly and obtaining property he had no right to.
The CCTV material he accessed contained footage of England rugby star Mike Tindall cavorting with an ex-girlfriend in Altitude Bar, Queenstown, during the Rugby World Cup – six weeks after Tindall’s marriage to royal Zara Phillips.
Dixon uploaded the footage to YouTube, fuelling an international media frenzy during the 2011 tournament.
Speaking to Mountain Scene after the verdict, Dixon says he’s disappointed obviously.
“The same as anyone would be. I didn’t steal anything. It’s something I had done 100s of times before,” Dixon says of accessing CCTV footage from Altitude where he worked as a bouncer.
“The Crown obviously presented its case really well,” Dixon says.
Asked if he had any regrets about pleading not guilty, he replied: “No, of course not. I didn’t dishonestly access that computer system. If it was the first time I had saved something off it or put something on a USB, that would be something else. But since I’d done it a 100 times before, that makes it different.”
After the verdict, Judge Kevin Phillips released Dixon on bail and scheduled sentencing in June.
Dixon told Invercargill District Court yesterday (Wednesday) he had no intention to sell footage.
The bouncer says he was initially asked by another security guard to seek out the footage of the rugby star – in Queenstown for the 2011 Rugby World Cup – after a “situation” at the door of the bar.
Dixon uploaded the footage to YouTube in a clip which included warnings from him to Tindall that he should “be loyal to the royal”.
The 42-year-old did not deny accessing the computer, but says he honestly believed he had the right to do so.
The Crown says Dixon took the footage knowing he was not allowed to, with the intention of selling it to make money for himself.
The defence says Dixon believed he had full and free access the bar’s CCTV footage – and took it with the intention of finding out how much it could fetch and presenting that information as a package, titled “Project Lucy”, to the bar’s owners to decide if they wanted to sell it.
In summing up the evidence, Judge Kevin Phillips, said the issue for the jury was to decide first whether at the time he accessed the computer Dixon was acting dishonestly, and then whether he honestly believed he had the right to legally access the computer.
Crown solicitor Mary-Jane Thomas said Project Lucy was “a fiction” made up by Dixon to cover up for not telling the managers of the bar about the footage until four days after he downloaded it.
Thomas alleges his hand was forced by other events that required him get the bar’s permission to sell the footage.
Defence lawyer John Westgate said Dixon’s intention was never to sell the footage to profit himself.
Dixon, who’d completed dozens of unsolicited internet research projects for the bar’s managers before, was just “doing a project with it, as he always did”. – Mountain Scene, Otago Daily Times