Meth-fuelled night of violence recalled


Three Queenstown men allegedly kidnapped 18 months ago have described a methamphetamine-fuelled night of violence and fear in a Queenstown holiday park to a jury at the Invercargill District Court yesterday.

One of the trio, Joseph Armstrong, also claims he was severely beaten by Glenorchy men Pita Wilson and Joshua Veint at his cabin in the Lakeview Holiday Park on November 25 and 26 in 2014.

During cross-examination on the second day of the trial yesterday, Wilson’s lawyer John Westgate said although his client had a “shoving and wrestling match” with Armstrong, it was Veint who caused the more serious injuries.

Westgate says Wilson hadn’t forced Armstrong to stay at the cabin on the morning of November 26 and questioned why he did not ring or send a text message asking for help if he had been so scared.

Armstrong later left the cabin willingly with Wilson because of a “paranoid belief that a hit was out on you”. The pair spent the next several days together.

Westgate: “If you were really scared of Mr Wilson, you would not have spent the best part of a week with him.”

Wilson, 40, and Mark Junior Taylor, 19, of Bluff, are jointly charged with kidnapping Armstrong, Andrew Lee and Casey Johnston.

Wilson and Taylor are also charged with injuring Armstrong with intent. Wilson’s charged with supplying class A-controlled methamphetamine.

The second alleged victim, Andrew Lee, told the court he was invited to the cabin on the night of November 25 by Armstrong’s flatmate, Casey Johnston.

After smoking meth together, he, Veint, Johnston and Veint’s girlfriend, Lilly Boden, were told by Wilson to go to Johnston’s bedroom.

From there Lee heard the smacks of “countless punches” coming from the living room, and heard Wilson swearing at Armstrong and saying “you think you’re a tough man around town”.

He later saw Armstrong in his bedroom with a swollen, bloody face and blood-covered hands.

Lee told the court he was too scared of Wilson to intervene or leave the cabin early that morning, but about 7am he and Johnston were allowed to leave by Wilson so they could go to work.

Cross-examining, Westgate suggested to Lee that he delayed calling the police until November 28 because the fighting was no more than a “bit of a dust-up”.

Lee says he didn’t contact the police straight away because he didn’t know where Armstrong was and was afraid for his safety.

The third alleged victim, Casey Johnston says he went to Glenorchy with Wilson on November 24.

An “angry” Wilson told him he suspected his girlfriend had cheated on him with Armstrong.

The next night at the cabin, Wilson became upset when he saw a small red book belonging to Armstrong that contained a list of names, including that of his girlfriend.

Wilson ordered everyone except for Taylor and Armstrong to go to Johnston’s bedroom.

Johnston says from there he could hear Wilson beating Armstrong, with the latter asking him to stop.

When he was allowed to return to the living room, he saw blood spattered on the wall.

When he was called into Armstrong’s bedroom later, he saw an “unrecognisable” Armstrong with a bloodied, swollen face and cut hands.

Johnston says he was not allowed to leave the cabin until later in the morning when Lee woke him and said “we’ve got to try and get out of here”.

Westgate put it to Johnston that his account of the Glenorchy trip was a “complete and utter lie”, and asked why he didn’t warn his flatmate the following night that Wilson was going to the cabin.

Johnston replied he had called Wilson his uncle all his life.

“If he tells me to do something, I’ll do it.”

The trial continues today.

Otago Daily Times