Queenstown boss convicted after $160,000 in tax withheld

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A Queenstown business owner who withheld almost $160,000 in taxes from Inland Revenue has been convicted and fined.

Australian Naomi Ann Wooldridge, 26, was the sole director of Job Shop Employment Solutions – a firm which provided staff for a Queenstown call centre she also ran.

For 11 months, from June 2009 to April 2010, Job Shop failed to pay its employees’ PAYE deductions to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

The money was used instead to pay creditors and staff wages.

Wooldridge pleaded guilty and was convicted at Queenstown District Court this afternoon. She was fined $17,000 and costs.

Judge Michael Turner says: “The non-payment of PAYE is not a victimless crime.

“The victim is every New Zealand citizen. Effectively, not paying the Commissioner is theft from every New Zealand citizen.”

Wooldridge, sobbing in the dock, had since paid the total balance of $159,645 to the Commissioner, along with the substantial interest and penalties accrued.

The offence carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and $50,000 fine for each charge.

Turner said he regarded Wooldridge’s offending as serious, persistent and deliberate but he accepted she was naïve, taking over the business from her bankrupt father, and was unlikely to ever appear before the courts again.

Defence counsel Nic Soper said Wooldridge was deeply sorry for her actions and had certainly learnt her lesson.

Job Shop provided backpacker and other itinerant workers for cold calling centre Salescorp Marketing Solutions. They no longer operate in Queenstown.

Violent street fighter convicted

An Englishman who landed a roundhouse kick to his victim’s head during a nasty street brawl in Queenstown has been convicted.

Kieron Milan Gligorijevic, 24, of Huff Street, Queenstown, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to injure.

The construction worker was involved in a mass drunken fracas inside and outside McDonald’s, Queenstown CBD, in the early hours of Sunday, March 18.

Gilgorijevic had been punched in the head twice himself by his victim before he retaliated – using his martial arts training to land two punches and a roundhouse kick to the head.

The victim, who had also punched Gilgorijevic’s friend, hit his head on the pavement. It was not clear whether he had been knocked out by the kick or subsequent fall.

Judge Michael Turner says: “It is fortunate there were not more tragic consequences. Many people die as a result of such altercations and you could have been facing manslaughter charges.

“It was not good management on your part but good luck that that outcome didn’t occur. Your conduct could easily have resulted in fatal injuries.”

Turner says even though Gilgorijevic had been hit himself his actions went far beyond what would be considered an appropriate response.

Defence counsel Phena Byrne said her client had not tried to argue self-defence but sought a discharge without conviction because the consequences – not having his work visa renewed – were not proportionate to the gravity of the offending.

The victim suffered concussion and was hospitalised, needing two days off work and two weeks to recover, but there was no lasting damage.

Gilgorijevic was sentenced to 90 hours’ community work at Queenstown District Court this afternoon (Monday).

Would-be piddler and puncher cops fine

A Dunedin man who threatened to urinate all over walls of a new Queenstown Mexican restaurant has been fined for his behaviour.

Carl James Clement Day, 27, also threatened the co-owner of Coyote Grill on Shotover Street that he would “punch his f****n face in” after a boozy night out with a mate at 10.15pm on May 5.

Day, who also works in Queenstown as part of a Dunedin-based family business, had been out drinking when he and his friend walked up stairs to use the restaurant’s toilets. The restaurant was closed.

Co-owner Paul Mettmann followed the pair upstairs and waited near the bathroom door “where he heard banging and crashing and heard a voice say that he was going to urinate all over the walls”, prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin told Judge Michael Turner in Queenstown District Court today (Monday).

Mettmann told the pair to leave, and the men began arguing with Mettmann, using threatening language.

“The defendant said things like ‘I’m going to punch his f****n face in’ and ‘I want to get him’,” Collin says.

Mettmann then ushered the pair out the door. A woman who also worked at the restaurant locked herself in a room in fear.

“The pair charged back at the door, crashing it open and once again entered the shopt where another argument started,” Collin says.

Mettman screamed at the pair, pushing them out and was finally able to lock the door.

When Day was located by police he initially denied threatening the victim but later admitted the charges of threatening to injure and behaving in a threatening manner likely to cause violence.

Duty solicitor Mike Newell told Judge Turner: “[Mettman] didn’t realise they were joking with each other; there was no actual peeing or anything.”

Judge Turner questioned Day about his long history of alcohol-related offending, and asked him if he wanted to do something about his alcohol consumption.

“Not particularly, no,” Day replied.

Judge Turner fined him $300, court costs of $132.89 and ordered him to make an emotional harm payment of $200 to Mettmann.

“Until you address your drinking you are likely to offend in a similar way and you will be back before the court.”

Black market fish dealer pleads guilty

Frankton man Shane Christopher Whaitiri has been fined $3600 after admitting illegally selling blue cod and rock lobsters.

Whaitiri, 44, was caught in a Ministry of Fisheries sting beginning in late 2010 which investigated illegal sales of blule cod and rock lobster coming off commercial vessels as a “feed” for crew members.

Whaitiri, a sickness beneficiary, is not a commercial fisher but he has access to the fish and had been identified as a person engaging in the illegal activity, Crown lawyer Michael Morris told the court.

In Octcober 2010 and February 2011 Whaitiri sent text messages to several people if they wanted to buy the fish.

He was spoken to by Ministry officials in September about his text messages and he admitted he was neither a commercial fisherman, a licensed fish receiver or fish farmer – the only people who can legally sell fish. Whaitiri also said he had never bought fishfrom a factory or from a commercial fisherman in a wharf sale transaction, stating that he couldn’t remember the last time he bought fish.

He was subsequently charged with three charges of possessing illegal fish for sale under the Fisheries Act.

“Black market dealing in fish such as this undermines the quota management system and is effectively theft of a shared national resource,” Morris told the court.

“It also undermines legitimate commercial enterprise which is worth many millions of dollars to the New Zealand economy.

“The actions of buyers and sellers of illegally-taken fish necessitate a full-time compliance response, the cost of which is borne by the taxpayer. Therefore, the wider community is paying a significant cost to constrain black market activities.”

Duty solicitor Steve Turner told Judge Turner that Whaitiri’s offending was at the lower end of the scale and the money he received was only a small amount.

Convicting Whaitiri, Judge Turner also ordered him to pay $132.89 in court costs and $145 on each charge towards the cost of prosecution.

Drunk and disorderly

An Arrowtown man who approached an Indian tourist and said “give me some loving” has been told to get help with his drinking.

Ryan Alexander Karauria, 21, pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour after an incident near O’Connell’s Mall on April 20 at 9.45pm.

Karauria, who had been “loudly rapping” approached the Indian man, who was part of a tour group, duty solicitor Steve Turner told the court. He then said “give me some loving” and the pair exchanged words, escalating to a verbal altercation till police were called.

This incident is his third conviction for disorderly behaviour. He was fined $450 plus court costs. Judge Turner says: “I urge you to do something about your drinking – at least get some education about it.”

Harrison Scott Dickson was convicted and fined $400 for disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence after verbally threatening a bouncer at local strip club Cadillac. Dickson, 23, from Kelvin Heights, had been refused entry to the bar twice on May 5 and he threatened to assault the doorman.