Judge’s latest warning for drunken thugs

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A VISITING judge says drunken violence is all too common in Queenstown after dealing with three offenders for nasty assaults.

Christchurch Judge Phil Moran told Queenstown District Court on Monday he wants to send a message via sentencing to the general community that “this will not be tolerated here”.

Judge Moran’s warning comes after fellow judge Kevin Phillips let rip about drunken violence last month saying: “We have ongoing violence in bars in Queenstown … when are we going to stop condoning it?”

Judge Moran sentenced one offender – a “powerfully built” teenager who embarked on a mini crime spree in Queenstown – to nine months’ home detention.

Esafe Katoa, 19, of Dart Place, Fernhill, elbowed one victim in the nose, punched another in the face and stole $940 from a third, during a drunken three-day period.

Judge Moran: “This is thuggery in the street. It is a bad piece of work.”

Katoa had pleaded guilty to injuring with intent on October 20, assaulting with intent to injure and demanding money with intent to steal it.

The teenager approached his first two victims on Fernhill Road on October 17, asking for cigarettes then becoming aggressive.

The third victim was approached outside Mc­Donald’s on Camp Street, on October 20.

Katoa demanded his victim withdraw money from an ATM, taking $1300 and giving back about $360.

Cromwell man Jackson Allan Clark, 18, got 200 hours’ community work and nine months’ supervision after admitting assaulting three people in unprovoked attacks in November.

Judge Moran says: “Mr Clark, this is a bad business.

“You hit three people and you hit them hard – people who did little or nothing to deserve it.

“And you did it because you were drunk. This seems to be a common theme in Queenstown.” 

Clark punched one of his victims five times in the head and pushed him up against a shop window on Rees St in the early hours of November 29.

Clark then broke another man’s nose after punching him in the face following an argument minutes later.

Then at 2am, he punched yet another in Queenstown’s Buffalo Club and was arrested.

Clark was ordered to make $500 and $300 emotional harm payments to two of his victims.

And 40-year-old Queens­town cleaner Jody Michelle King was sentenced to nine months’ supervision after admitting punching a bouncer in the head four times.

The court heard King became aggressive after being denied entry to a bar on The Mall and then struck the doorman in the head.

King was then detained by other door staff until police arrived.