Another of the men imprisoned after a violent Queenstown kidnapping incident is out after a sentence reduction, his lawyer says.
Invercargill lawyer Fiona Guy-Kidd, acting for Queenstowner Michael Coulter, says he was freed immediately on Wednesday after a successful appeal.
The Court of Appeal in Auckland quashed Coulter’s conviction for aggravated wounding and substituted it with a lesser conviction for wounding with intent.
“Coulter’s sentence was reduced from three years to one year, nine months, resulting in his immediate release,” Guy-Kidd says.
Coulter’s fellow inmate Brodie O’Rourke – also previously convicted of aggravated wounding in relation to the drug-related kidnapping – had his conviction quashed too. It’s replacement with a conviction for wounding with intent reduced his sentence from three years, six months to two years and three months.
O’Rourke, who remains in prison, was denied parole during a first hearing last month.
Coulter and O’Rourke were among a group of seven arrested after November, 2011, incident.
Various court sittings have heard how a group of three women and four men were present when Jason Scott Maynard was attacked at the Crown Range intersection and at one point had a meat cleaver held to his throat.
A beaten Maynard was then bundled into a car and later dumped at the side of the road in Arrowtown. The ordeal stemmed from an alleged drug-exchange gone wrong in which the court heard Maynard had earlier sold flour and sugar to one of the seven who thought it was powdered ecstasy.
Last year, Arrowtown glazier Jonathan Charles Burke also had his sentence reduced last year. Burke originally copped two years and three months’ prison for intending to commit theft by violent means and rendering Maynard incapable of resistance.
A judge cut it to four months’ home detention on appeal, after it was argued the original sentence failed to reflect Burke’s lesser involvement.
Meanwhile, in December last year, teenager Charlotte Amelia Spencer Dickson had aggravated wounding and kidnapping charges against her dropped, later telling Mountain Scene she hadn’t know the boys involved beforehand and was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Co-accused Brooke Sylvia Carpenter was also discharged.
Queenstown draughtsman Daniel John Kissel was sentenced in May, last year, to eight months’ home detention and 300 hours’ community work for wounding with intent.
Queenstowner Rachel Faul has already been discharged on an aggravated wounding rap but still faces charges of kidnapping, reckless driving and – in a separate alleged incident – offering to suppy class B drug ecstasy.