Judge: ‘That wasn’t our deal’

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Queenstown’s Basil Walker’s copped a conviction and a fine for failing to file an expenses and donations return following last year’s general election.

Walker, 69, a bricklayer, stood as an independent candidate in the Invercargill electorate, campaigning on stopping the closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

He received 187 votes.

Under the Electoral Act, candidates have to file returns — even if it’s a nil return — with
the Electoral Commission with in 70 working days of election day.

The deadline was February 17 this year.

A police summary said Walker had been emailed by the commission on December 5 last year and February 18, advising him of the requirement, and an official followed up by phone on March 3.

During the call Walker ‘‘became abusive’’, the summary says, and he emailed the commission on March 5 to complain about that, ‘‘and other matters’’ but didn’t submit his return.

The commission referred the matter to the cops — when they spoke to him in June he admitted the offending and said, in explanation, the 2020 election process was ‘‘unlawful and untruthful’’.

At an earlier appearance in Queenstown’s court, Walker was offered a discharge without conviction if he completed 40 hours’ community work.

But in court again last Monday, Judge Michelle Duggan heard he hadn’t done a single hour.

Walker told her he’d taken out an ad in Mountain Scene’s sister paper, the Otago Daily
Times — relating to the Three Water reforms — which cost about $700.

He described that as a ‘‘gesture in lieu of [the] 40 hours I wasn’t able to do’’, citing his age
and a loss of income as reasons why he couldn’t carry out community work.

But the judge pointed out ‘‘that wasn’t the deal that was struck’’, and likened it to her
arranging to sell a Porsche and then coming up ‘‘with a dunger that doesn’t even have a WOF’’.

He was fined $500 and order ed to pay $130 in court costs, within 28 days.

Diversion being considered

A Frankton man — whose occupation is listed as a bus driver — is being considered
for diversion after allegedly breaking lockdown last month.

Min Yang, 41, faces one charge of intentionally failing to comply with an order made
under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, by leaving an Alert Level 4 area and travelling to an Alert Level 2 area without just cause or authority at Christchurch on
September 2.

The charge carries with it a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment, or a $4000 fine.

Yang’s matter will next be called on October 11.

Cocktail of bad decisions

Shan John’s lawyer described it as an ‘‘incredibly poor decision’’.

Judge Duggan said that didn’t even cover it.

The 28-year-old copped to drink-driving on Shotover Street  on August 8, with a blood
alcohol level of 178mg — the legal limit’s 50mg.

In court last Monday, his lawyer, Megan McCrostie, said John had been drinking with mates after work before he decided to give him and his friend a ride home, on a Yamaha motorbike he didn’t have an endorsement for.

Tripling down on the danger, his pillion passenger wasn’t wearing a helmet when cops pulled him over at 4.30am, on his way to Fernhill.

Duggan said John’s actions put his own life at risk, as well as his mate’s.

‘‘You could well have seriously hurt or killed your friend and yourself.

‘‘That’s how dangerous it was.’’

He’s been banned from driving for nine months, ordered to do 150 hours’ community work,
and pay $157 reparation for blood and analyst fees.