A Queenstown waitress crashed her car while drink driving and then told police it had been stolen.
Kate Alexandra Kostick was sentenced to 100 hours’ community work at Queenstown District Court on Monday.
The 24-year-old, from the UK, admitted drink-driving with a breath alcohol level of 630 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breach, careless driving on Robins Rd and making a false statement.
Prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says Kostick had finished work about 11.30pm on April 30 and had been drinking with an associate.
At 3.30am she was driving on Robins Rd when her vehicle collided with a car on the parked on the left-hand-side of the road.
Kostick then asked her associate to call the police and report her vehicle as having been stolen, Collin says.
After police arrived at the scene, Kostick was contacted and asked to come and assess the damage to her vehicle.
Kostick eventually admitted she had been the driver and reported the vehicle stolen to “cover her tracks”. She was arrested and returned a positive breath alcohol test.
Reparation of $8194.92 was sought for the vehicle she hit, which was uninsured.
Defence counsel Rachel Napier said Kostick accepted the seriousness of the situation and was “horrified” by her actions.
“She went back to the car to get her handbag; she had no intention of driving.
“She describes it as a split-minute decision – it was the defendant’s friend who made up the story the car had been stolen and the defendant’s friend who called police.
“It was as a result of naiveté and misplaced loyalty … she didn’t want to get her friend in trouble.”
Judge Garland says the offending was aggravated by making the false statement which was “a really silly thing for you to do”.
“It seems to be out of character for you, you come before the court without any previous convictions at all. I hope this has been a lesson for you.”
For drink-driving and making a false statement Kostick was sentenced to 100 hours’ community work; for drink-driving and careless driving she was disqualified for nine months.
Kostick was also ordered to pay $8294.92 reparation – $1500 to be paid immediately and the balance at $30 per week, with the first payment due in seven days.
Rugby player fined for bullying
A Wakatipu rugby player whose post-match celebrations got out of hand has been fined $750 for “behaving like a bully boy”.
Unemployed Jordan James Ataria, 26, admitted disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence when he appeared in Queenstown District Court on Monday.
Prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says about 11.15pm on May 4, Ataria left the Sky Bar on Camp St, Queenstown, and began a verbal altercation with a man standing outside Betty’s Liquor.
Ataria walked past the victim and hit an umbrella he was holding, before turning and again positioning himself in front of the victim.
Another verbal exchange occurred before Ataria knocked the umbrella from the man’s hands and “proceeded to kick the umbrella down Cow Lane”.
The victim walked down Cow Lane to retrieve the umbrella “at which point the defendant got in his face and followed him back to the entrance of Betty’s Liquor”.
“The defendant’s actions were unprovoked,” sergeant Collin says.
Defence counsel Sonia Vidal said Ataria was celebrating his team’s win against Arrowtown that day, which won it “the cup”.
“What essentially occurred is he’d had too much alcohol to drink . . . he’s embarrassed by his behaviour.”
Judge Garland says Ataria’s conduct was completely unprovoked.
“You just decided for some reason you didn’t like the citizen who happened to be in your way and you were just going to bully him for no reason at all,” Judge Garland says.
“You have got a history which indicates that alcohol is a feature in your life and also that you have, in the past, behaved in offensive, disorderly and violent ways. It’s up to you.
“You’ve got to make the decision whether or not you’re going to change or not. Hopefully you will make the right decision.”
Ataria was also ordered to pay $132.89 court costs.
Heliski firm fined for “poaching”
A Queenstown heliski company has been fined $6000 for knowingly guiding in a conservation area without a concession.
Judge Alistair Garland dished out the fine in Queenstown District Court on Monday to Alpine Heliski for what’s dubbed commercial “poaching”.
The fine will be met in advance by Alpine Heliski Ltd shareholders.
The charge, previously admitted by the company, carries a maximum fine of $80,000.
The court heard that about 1.30pm on August 4 last year a sign-written helicopter and about two groups of people were sighted in the Loch Linnhe block on the Remarkables Conservation Area.
The groups were either skiing or snowboarding down the slope from an area known as Bears Ears, towards Lake Wakatipu.
The concession for that block is held by Totally Tourism Ltd, trading as Harris Mountain Heliski.
On August 7, after being asked by a Department of Conservation ranger for an explanation, Alpine Heliski Ltd managing director Tim O’Leary said the company had intended to heliski on a block on the Ben Nevis pastoral lease, for which the company did have permission.
However, ridge landings were covered by cloud and the company was unable to land safely, so moved to the Harris Mountain Heliski area.
DoC counsel Pene Williamson told Judge Garland the situation was “somewhat unusual” in some respects and could be described as a “dispute between two commercial operators”.
However, it was actually about access to undisturbed snow.
After issues between operators in the early 2000s, DoC allocated concessions to operators – one concessionaire per block.
Alpine Heliski held two concessions and a third which was held jointly with another operator.
Williamson said the offending was aggravated due to a history of complaints of “poaching” on heliski blocks.
“The department wrote not to just all the heliski operators, but all the helicopter operators…in July 2010 and warned everybody about this…and indicated what the consequences might be.
“It’s extremely disappointing from the department’s perspective that we now have this incident when the defendant company was written to at the time.
“Totally Tourism Ltd were very unhappy to find that the defendant company was operating on what is their heliski block.”
While Alpine Heliski had been “caught red-handed” it had not attempted to deny the offending.
The department did not seek costs.
Defence counsel Katy Baxter says the company accepted it was “deliberate” offending, however, it was not premeditated.
“On the day there were weather concerns, the decision was made to operate on the other block because the weather was clearer on the other block.”
Further while there were temporary effects of the company’s landing, there were no long-lasting effects and it “fully accepts it shouldn’t have done it”.
The company had no previous convictions and had learned from its mistake, Baxter says.
“Mr O’Leary has given evidence he’s very much learned his lesson and there will be no other repeats.”
The company’s financial statements from March 31, 2012 indicated its expenses exceeded revenue and was not in a position to pay a substantial fine, however, any fine would be met by the shareholders in advance, she said.
It was able to pay $2000 up front and the remainder of a fine by instalment.
After being questioned by Judge Garland, Baxter said about 15 passengers were transported on that day, each paying about $400 – a “discounted” rate – for both the landing and the guiding.
Judge Garland said the company’s decision was commercially motivated.
“For safety reasons the company decided not to land on its own block.
“Obviously for commercial reasons it chose to land on the block for which it did not have the proper concession.
“The offending was therefore deliberate and it was for the purpose of obtaining commercial benefit.”
While he was prepared to accept the $8000 starting point it was “fairly moderate” and represented a “significant concession on the part of the prosecution”.
Judge Garland allowed reductions for the guilty plea and previous good record.
The company was also ordered to pay $132.89 court costs.
Drink driver in the dock
A Queenstown labourer who decided to drive home drunk to avoid breaching his curfew was yesterday fined $1100 and sentenced to nine months’ supervision, with special conditions.
Frankton’s Adam Paul Bamford, 32, admitted drink-driving with a blood alcohol level of 236mg – almost three times the legal limit – on Frankton Rd on April 20.
Sergeant Collin says at 11.48pm Bamford was stopped by police and breath screening procedures were carried out, after which he elected a blood test.
Bamford told police he had consumed “three stubbies” and had fallen asleep at a friend’s house and was on his way home.
However, defence counsel Rhona Daysh says Bamford had “a whole heap to drink” before falling asleep at an associate’s home.
“He’s totally disappointed with himself, there was no excuse,” Daysh says.
“He was going to be outside his curfew so he drove … he spent 10 days in Invercargill Prison (in relation to the alleged curfew breach).”
Bamford had recently completed a supervision sentence, attending counselling sessions and completing community work.
He did not believe he had an alcohol problem, Daysh says. However, Judge Garland disagreed.
“The other people on the road who have to share the road with him probably think he’s got an alcohol problem … like me, they’re probably concerned about someone driving around virtually three times the legal limit”.
The high level put him in the “high risk category of drivers; that is those who are much more likely to kill other people on our roads, statistically”, Judge Garland says.
“I think you need a refresher course with respect to alcohol.”
Special conditions of his supervision were to undertake assessment, counselling and treatment as directed for alcohol issues.
Bamford was also ordered to pay $210 reparation for medical expenses and analyst fees and ordered to pay $132.89 court costs.
Judge Garland made an order under section 65B of the Land Transport Act authorising Bamford to apply for a Zero Alcohol Licence at the end of his disqualification period, valid for three years from the date of issue.
Failure to apply for the licence would mean he would be treated as a suspended driver.
Hotel burglars sentenced
Two Queenstown teenagers have been sentenced for their parts in a burglary at the five-star Sofitel Hotel earlier this year.
Labourer Jacob James Forde, 17, admitted the offending, during which he stole $240 of alcohol, between March 5 and 6.
Painter Taylem Anthony Matthews, 18, admitted burglary of the Sofitel between March 5 and 6.
Matthews was separately charged with careless driving and driving while disqualified, on January 12, State Highway 6 at Lumsden.
In relation to the burglary, Judge Garland said Forde suggested he, Matthews and a co-accused go to the Sofitel for a cigarette about 11.30pm on March 5.
The group entered the hotel through a side entrance, travelled to a higher floor via a lift and up stairs to the top of the building.
However, Forde and Matthews entered a bedroom of a unit and discovered 10 unopened bottles of spirits sitting on a kitchen bench.
They took the bottles and attempted to hide their appearances by pulling hoods over their heads and concealing the alcohol in their clothing. They were captured on CCTV cameras.
Matthews discarded two bottles of spirits and the remaining bottles, valued at $240, were concealed in bushes, uplifted the next day and taken to Invercargill.
Forde was sentenced to 150 hours’ community work with authorisation for the hours to be converted into training and nine months’ supervision with special conditions to attend and complete a drug and alcohol assessment, treatment or programme as directed.
He was also ordered to pay $80 reparation at $50 per week.
In relation to Matthew’s driving matters, Judge Garland says he had been disqualified for nine months on October 19.
At 7am on January 12 he had four other associates in the car with him, all of whom were asleep, when Subaru vehicle he was driving crossed the centre line into the opposite lane, drove over the shoulder of the road, into a grass verge and collided with a bank.
The car travelled along the water table for about 100m before coming to a stop.
One of the passengers suffered a cut to her hand and the vehicle was moderately damaged.
He told police the group had been visiting bars in Invercargill for the night and was travelling back to Queenstown, however, the driver had become tired at Winton and Matthews decided to take over.
Judge Garland told Matthews was told if it were not for his young age and the support of his parents he would have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
Instead, he was sentenced to 120 hours’ community work for driving while disqualified, and on the careless driving and driving while disqualified charges further disqualified for nine months from June 10.
In relation to the burglary he was sentenced to 150 hours’ community work, cumulative, and ordered to pay $80 reparation at $20 per week, the first payment due in seven days.
“You need to bear in mind that if you don’t comply with the sentence then you will face the prospect of being sent to prison.
“Make no mistake about that.”