Queenstown bouncer to appeal ‘Tindallgate’ verdict

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Former Queenstown bouncer Jonathan Dixon says he will appeal his conviction and sentence over the ‘Tindallgate’ CCTV incident in Queenstown during the Rugby World Cup almost two years ago.

In April, Dixon was found guilty by an Invercargill District Court jury of dishonestly accessing a computer at the bar where he worked and obtaining the CCTV footage of English rugby player Mike Tindall  husband of the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips – cavorting with a former girlfriend.

Dixon tried to sell the footage to an English newspaper and, when that failed, posted it on social media.

On Thursday, he was sentenced in the Invercargill court to four months’ community detention and 300 hours’ community service.

The community detention is to be served at a Dunedin address where Dixon, 42, now unemployed, will be electronically monitored and subject to a strict curfew.

Speaking to media outside the Invercargill courthouse, Dixon says the case was “not over yet”.

“Do you hear the fat lady singing?”

When asked if that meant he was appealing, he replied: “Hell, yeah.”

Dixon says he had an appeal against his conviction and sentence drawn up but needed to talk to his solicitor, John Westgate, of Dunedin, before he lodged it.

Dixon says there had been a miscarriage of justice, although when asked what the miscarriage was, he says he could not say.

Dixon says it would come out he had not dishonestly accessed the CCTV footage, and repeated his evidence at the trial that he put the footage online to “tell Mr Tindall off” and call him on his ungentlemanly behaviour.

“Everyone sways from time to time. He’s probably never going to do anything like that again.”

Dixon says he wanted the appeal heard as soon as possible.

“I just want to get out of here,” he says, indicating the court building behind him.

“I’ve had enough of this building. I’ve had enough of cell six downstairs. This is 2013 and the Rugby World Cup was 2011. It’s been a long time.”

During the trial, Dixon told the jury he believed he had the right to take the footage, and investigated selling it to media to make money for the owners of the bar.

Dixon says he posted the footage on social media to “save the princess from being tortured” by continued slow release of the material over time by the bar owners.

But Judge Kevin Phillips says on Thrusday he and the jury rejected that. Dixon’s offending had been deliberate, premeditated and motivated by greed and spite.

Dixon had taken the footage intending to make money, and when no-one would pay him or co-operate with him, he posted it on You Tube to stop anyone else making money, displaying a “holier than thou” attitude.

His actions had invaded the privacy of Mr Tindall and Dixon’s employers, Judge Phillips says.

“You have occasioned harm to innocent people … and you did all this because of your greed.”

Dixon’s counsel, John Westgate, is the same lawyer Dixon fired on the first day of his trial last month on two assault charges unconnected to the CCTV incident.

Dixon was acquitted of those charges.

Yesterday, Mr Westgate asked for a non-custodial sentence on the computer charge, saying it was a “one-off” incident and not in the same league as computer hacking.

Judge Phillips agreed it was not a case of hacking, but said accessing the CCTV footage had been a “major breach of trust by an employee or contractor” which had been motivated by personal gain.

The only thing which saved Dixon from a prison term was that he had no prior offending of a similar nature.

- Otago Daily Times