Neighbours at war’s skateboard sequel


A Queenstown labourer who ran to help his father after he was with weedkiller by neighbour Alistair Hey has been found guilty of burgling Hey’s garage.

It is the latest court appearance in an ongoing neighbours at war saga.

Last year Hey was found guilty of assaulting Tim Clark on September 14 and ordered to pay $1500 emotional harm reparation and complete 70 hours’ community service.

The incident occurred after Hey was apparently asked by Clark to turn down music.

Last week, Judge Mark Callaghan found Clark’s son, Rhys Timothy Clark, 30, guilty of burglary after he entered Hey’s garage and removed a motorised skateboard immediately following the assault on his father.

He walked away with the skateboard, but less than a minute later returned to the access way on Hensman Rd, leading to Hey’s property as well as several others, and threw the skateboard down before walking away again. 

Defence lawyer Liam Collins argued there was no case to answer because Clark did not intend to permanently deprive Mr Hey of the skateboard, Callaghan disagreed.

CCTV footage of the entire incident, including the assault, was shown during the trial.

Clark was observed near the entrance to Hey’s garage, disappearing from sight as he headed into the garage, leaving it but looking back.

A short time later he re-entered the garage and is seen leaving with the skateboard over his shoulder.

Hey says as a result of Clark throwing the skateboard it was irreparable.

While he had no proof of purchase for the skateboard, he initially estimated it was worth about $950.

He later provided varying estimations of its worth, the most expensive being $1600.

Collins contended Hey was attempting to “claw back some of the emotional harm reparation” he had been ordered to pay Clark’s father.

Hey denied that.

Callaghan says it’s clear Clark had no authority to be on the property or enter the garage, and removing the skateboard showed an intent to deprive the owner of it.

Collins immediately sought an adjournment so a discharge without conviction application could be prepared.

He says a conviction for burglary, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, would be out of proportion when considering the facts.

“The stigma [of a burglary conviction] has wide-ranging ramifications.

“It’s less than a minute from the entry [of the garage] until the return of the skateboard. The gravity … could not be lower.”

Callaghan remanded Clark to reappear on May 30 for the discharge application to be heard.

Otago Daily Times