Queenstown drug-accused woman denies charge

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A Queenstown woman allegedly linked to a major drug ring has denied the charge she faces.

Sarah Rose Fry today pleaded not guilty to possessing cocaine on April 12 in Queenstown District Court.

Fry, a 27-year-old salesperson, was originally charged with possessing methamphetamine but after analysis, the drug was found to be cocaine instead, the court heard.

Fry has been remanded on bail to appear for a status hearing on July 2.

Meanwhile, Fry’s housemate Hayden Mark Smith, 31, is eligible for diversion for one charge of possessing a cannabis plant and one charge of possessing the party pill BZP.

Smith was originally charged with possessing ecstasy but analysis proved it was BZP.

Fry’s and Smith’s charges stem back to a large-scale police sting dubbed Operation Moses on April 12 led by the Southern District police, resulting in 10 arrests in Queenstown, Invercargill and Auckland. Police expect to arrest one more person.

Operation Moses began with a five-month-long investigation targeting a methamphetamine supply chain based in Queenstown and Invercargill that sourced the drug from Auckland.

Cops believe that more than 100 grams of P was distributed through the supply chain, with an estimated street value over $100,000.

Travel agent to appear tomorrow

The Queenstown travel agent accused of scamming her former employer has been remanded without plea till tomorrow.

Kathryn Arnold, 31, has faces three charges of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception from Flight Centre between March 2009 and May this year. The charges currently before the court total $9350.

Arnold’s lawyer Sonja Vidal says $12,000 was paid at the weekend but amounts need to be finalised before pleas are entered.

Winemaker accused of theft

Bannockburn winemaker Richard Guthrey has appeared in court on a theft charge brought by a company linked to bankrupt developer Dave Henderson.

Guthrey, who owns Remarkable Wines Ltd, has been charged with stealing grape bird netting belonging to Gibbston Downs Wines Ltd in January 2009.

Gibbston Downs Wines Ltd is directed by Ian Bruce Hyndman. The company’s sole shareholders is Anthem Ltd, which is directed by Hyndman but the sole shareholder of that company is FTG Trustee Services Ltd – directed by Henderson’s wife Kristina Buxton. The sole shareholder of FTG Trustee Services Ltd is Henderson.

Representing himself, 65-year-old Guthrey entered a not-guilty plea.

Judge Phillips remanded Guthrey on bail till July 16 for a status hearing. Bail conditions include Guthrey not contacting, communicating or associating with anyone from Gibbston Downs Wines and not entering the property of Gibbston Downs Wines.

Two weeks ago, Guthrey’s company Remarkable Wines pleaded guilty to contravening or failing to comply with a condition of an archaeological authority in Queenstown District Court two weeks ago.

The court heard then that Remarkable Wines, which had resource consent to build a wine tasting facility on land next to the historic Gibbston Hotel site, did not adhere to three conditions when it was undertaking earthworks in May last year. 

The company will be sentenced on August 13.

Convicted diabetic developer ‘hates the sight of blood’

Queenstown property developer Kerry Colin Christian, 52, has been sentenced to 80 hours’ community work for refusing to give blood.

Christian was stopped by police on a road in Lake Hayes on May 31. Police were able to detect he’d been drinking but there was no evidential breath testing machine available at the time.

Christian refused to give a blood sample for analysis, telling police that he is a diabetic and “hated the sight of blood”, prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin told the court.

Addressing the judge, Christian admitted he’d been drinking and was over the limit to drive.

Because there was no reading to indicate how much Christian was over the limit, Judge Phillips said he must sentence him on the basis that he was in the “mid-range of intoxication”.

Judge Phillips also told Christian that he needed to pay off his $4000-plus fines at more than just a “drip-feed” of $65 a week.

Christian was also disqualified from driving for seven months.