Passenger in dangerous chase banned


A teenager who encouraged his drunken friend to do a “burnout” in front of police – sparking a major pursuit – has been banned from the roads.

Rhys Christiaan Thian, of Mount Pisa, was the front seat passenger in a car which was chased across the Crown Range from Queenstown by officers in December.

Police had to abandon the chase three times because it was deemed too dangerous due to the high speeds of driver Bradley James O’Connor.

It eventually came to an end when the car’s engine blew up near Cromwell.

Thian pleaded guilty to a charge of aiding a driver to cause a sustained loss of traction, on Frankton Road, when he appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Judge Michael Turner says: “One might almost say you started these events.” 

Thain had twice asked O’Connor to stop as events spiralled out of his control and had learnt a salutary lesson, his lawyer says.

Thian was disqualified from driving for seven months. O’Connor will be sentenced on March 26 after admitting a range of offences, including three counts of reckless driving.

Bouncer behind bars

A bouncer faces up to three years in jail after committing two late-night assaults in Queenstown town centre.

Frankton man Paul Douglas Paterson punched one victim in the face so hard he knocked out his front tooth out.

The 29-year-old appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with reckless disregard for the safety of others.

The court heard he had been playfully throwing pebbles at woman he knew in Queenstown town centre. One of the woman’s friends, unaware they knew each other, leapt to her defence and the two men were involved in an argument.
Paterson then hit the victim in the face two or three times. It will cost more than $3000 to replace the tooth, which came out down to the root.
Paterson committed the other assault while working on the door of The Boiler Room in September last year, exchanging punches with a client he claimed had been smoking inside the bar.

Judge Turner says: “You threw two or three punches to the mouth that either knocked the tooth out or required it to be pulled out.”

Judge Turner added: “Home detention is an option but I would indicate at this point that it is likely to be a term of imprisonment for up to three years” [on both matters].

Remanded in custody, Paterson will be sentenced on both matters March 12.

Firework teenager told to apologise

An 18-year old who told a friend to let off a firework on an Arrowtown street in the early hours of the morning has been told to make a $250 donation to the fire service.

Elliot Thomas Wake must also write a letter of apology to the neighbours woken by the firework. He is likely to receive a diversion if he does both things.

Student charged over stabbing

A Saudi Arabian student has appeared in court charged with wounding with intent after a man was stabbed with a broken light bulb in a Queenstown hotel.

Abdulraham Tariq Alghamdi, 18, was remanded without plea on bail until April 11 for a committal conference.

The Christchurch student faces charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm following the incident earlier this month. 

Squatting traveller convicted

German traveller Jan Herklotz who was caught squatting in a cabin at Lake View Holiday Park has been convicted but not penalised.

Queenstown District Court heard yesterday the 24-year-old had become trapped in New Zealand after his working holiday visa was misplaced by immigration services.

Herklotz had let himself into the open cabin and stayed for two nights because he was cold and tired, his duty lawyer says. He has now booked a flight home.

Judge Turner says: “It seems to be your offending has arisen because you have a lack of funds to pay your way in this country.

“If you keep out of trouble you won’t hear any more about this matter.”

Herklotz will however have to pay a $50 offender levy.

Queenstown chef pleads guilty to drunken rampage at work

A Queenstown chef who head-butted his boss and exposed his private parts during a drunken rampage at work will be sentenced next month.

Simon James Pankhurst, 28, pleaded guilty in Queenstown District Court today (Monday) to assaulting his employer Craig Eccles in downtown restaurant 1876 on January 11.

The court heard that Pankhurst, a sous chef, turned up to work a split-shift drunk at 10am after going out the night before.

The head chef told him to go away and sober up before returning at 3pm, but Pankhurst instead went to a nearby bar to drink with friends.

He turned up to work at 3.30pm and was immediately sent away again, ordered to come back sober at 5pm. Instead, Pankhurst left and went to Brazz bar to continue drinking.

Restaurant owner Eccles went over to Brazz to insist that Pankhurst return to discuss his conduct. Already on a final warning at work, Pankhurst was fired on the spot at 1876. 

Pankhurst then demanded his final wages and was told to come back when he was sober.

In a loud voice, he threatened Eccles, saying “he knew a lot of people around town and that they would wreck the place” and that “he knew where the victim lived”, court papers state.

While repeatedly being asked to leave, he loudly slandered the company, swearing in front of families dining at the restaurant. He continued to abuse Eccles and got right up in his face, causing Eccles to push him away. Pankhurst then punched Eccles.

Other staff members tried to keep Pankhurst away from Eccles and Pankhurst attempted to bite their arms. He then spat in Eccles’ face and head-butted him.

“He then got his penis out of his pants and threatened to urinate in the bar before stating, ‘You’re lucky there’s nothing left in my bladder’,” court papers say.

Aware that police had been called, Pankhurst then walked towards Brazz while continuing to abuse Eccles.

Prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says Pankhurst initially told police that he was the one that had been assaulted.

Judge Michael Turner convicted Pankhurst and remanded him on bail for sentencing on March 26, in time for a drug and alcohol assessment and a report into a possible sentence of home detention or community detention. “Although this is no indication that home detention or community detention would be the outcome,” he warned.