A Queenstown man pinged for a fourth disqualified driving offence had threatened to throw a cat out of a moving car, Queenstown District Court has heard.
Judge Robert Murfitt told the court contractor Benjamin Temperton, 25, had been sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by his girlfriend’s stepfather on February 1 at Karamea.
His girlfriend was seated behind him and a child was in the back seat too, with a cat also in the car.
“You got into a scrap with [the driver] over a cat who was causing a nuisance in the car.
“You made an intemperate suggestion if the cat kept making a nuisance you would throw it out the window,” Judge Murfitt says.
The driver threatened Temperton before pulling the vehicle over and allegedly physically assaulting him.
The court heard the driver had climbed on top of Temperton in the passenger seat and allegedly attempted to “gouge” his eyes out.
The force of that attack caused the seat to collapse backwards, trapping Temperton’s girlfriend by the legs.
The two men then got out of the car before Temperton got into the driver’s seat and left the scene.
Judge Murfitt said it was a “volatile and threatening situation” and although there may have been another course of action open to Temperton it was “certainly a most unusual situation”.
While a probation officer had recommended a sentence of imprisonment, Judge Murfitt instead sentenced Temperton – who pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified – to 150 hours’ community work.
His previous disqualification period had expired and Judge Murfitt declined to impose any further disqualification to “break the cycle of offending”.
“You need to take that opportunity and run with it so that you don’t end up coming back here to court on these sorts of charges.”