Queenstown repeat driving offender sentenced


A French river surfing guide who led police on a high-speed chase through Fernhill in February has been caught behind the wheel again.

Nicolas Gutierrez, 26, pleaded guilty in Queenstown District Court today (Monday) to two fresh charges of driving while disqualified and drink driving in the early hours of April 21.

The court heard how Gutierrez tried to escape being collared a second time round by clambering
from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat of his car after being pulled over by police on Man St.

Gutierrez then threw the car keys under another vehicle, the court heard. He had 815 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

Gutierrez’s lawyer said he was moving the car at about 1am a few hundred metres up the road after it had repairs done – a claim judge Kevin Phillips dismissed as “unbelievable”.

The Frenchman was sentenced to 80 hours’ community work and disqualified for a further 12 months for driving drunk, with an extra 40 hours’ community work and six months’ disqualification for driving while disqualified.

In March, Gutierrez pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop when followed by red/blue flashing lights and unlawfully being in an enclosed yard in February.

At that time, he bolted from cops after being spotted driving between 80 – 100km/hr through road works on Lake Esplanade and led police on a high-speed chase up Fernhill before abandoning his car and high-tailing it on foot.

He was fined $1000 for those offences – which judge Phillips noted Gutierrez had made no attempt to pay.

Sentencing on seven-year-old case

A Frankton labourer was sentenced to community work in the Queenstown District Court – for a crime he committed seven years ago. 

Jeremy McNeill, 32, pleaded guilty to being unlawfully at a premise – namely a garden shed at an Invercargill address – between April 23 and 24, 2004. 

“I basically fell asleep in a shed on a minus-three degree morning,” McNeill told the court. 

The police said he spat and piddled on the back fence of the property. 

McNeill acknowledged he had a “chequered history and I did have a problem with alcohol which has since been addressed”. 

He was sentenced to 40 hours’ community work for the historic offence.

Rental car crash

An Apex Car Rentals employee has been disqualified for driving for six months and fined for hitting a local woman on her motorcycle. 

Michael Wood, 56, failed to give way to Jenna Evans as she turned her Honda motorbike from Camp Street on to Shotover St at the roundabout at 8.40am on March 4, the Queenstown District Court heard. 

Evans broke her leg in two places after her bike was “shunted” several metres. 

Wood, who represented himself in court in relation to the careless driving causing injury charge, said “I simply did not see her”. 

“Emotionally I have punished myself…more than any court could. Sleeplessness and depression have become a part of my life knowing I have hurt Jenna,” Wood stated. 

Wood was ordered to pay about $2400 in reparation to Evans and was disqualified from driving for six months – a legal requirement, judge Phillips pointed out.

Prison sentence for young drug dealer

“Prison must follow” for an Arrowtown kitchen-hand who pleaded guilty to two drugs charges, according to judge Phillips. 

Englishman Joseph Armstrong, 18, has been pinged for selling the class A drug LSD and class B drugs via text message in February this year, the Queenstown District Court heard. 

Police didn’t oppose bail – something which “concerned” judge Phillips. 

“You’re to have your bail to continue only because the police do not oppose it. I find it extremely surprising there has been no opposition to bail.” 

Armstrong will appear for sentencing on June 13.