The two Queenstown men at the forefront of a violent kidnapping near Arrowtown last November have been sent to jail.
Best friends Brodie O’Rourke, 24, and Michael Philip Coulter, 25, were handed imprisonment sentences of three years, six months and three years, respectively, in Queenstown District Court today.
They had both previously pleaded guilty to unlawfully detaining Jason Scott Maynard without his consent and aggravated wounding after a vicious group attack on November 26 sparked by a late-night drug deal gone wrong.
The court heard that O’Rourke was at a nightclub with friends in Queenstown when he bought powdered ecstasy off a female co-offender, who had bought it off Maynard. Soon after the deal was made, they discovered it was flour and brown sugar.
Becoming angry, O’Rourke contacted Coulter – who was not involved in the drug transaction – and the pair agreed to meet at O’Rourke’s Frankton house with six other alleged co-offenders.
It was there that the group decided to drive to Cromwell to “rough up” Maynard for the dodgy deal, the court heard. Several of the members, including O’Rourke, dressed in dark clothing and balaclavas. O’Rourke took a meat cleaver, brandishing it before striking a wooden table.
The group drove in two cars towards Cromwell but discovered Maynard was still in the resort. An alleged female co-offender arranged to meet him at the bottom of the Crown Range. It was agreed that O’Rourke, Coulter and other alleged co-offenders would approach Maynard’s car by stealth.
Taking Maynard by surprise, O’Rourke pushed his victim up against a car and punched him in the mouth. Maynard was set upon by the men involved, and O’Rourke head-butted him, causing Maynard to fall to the ground. Demands for money to be returned continued as Maynard was further attacked on the ground.
Maynard managed to get up, striking one of the group. O’Rourke then held the meat cleaver against his victim’s throat. He then opened the back door of a vehicle, head-butted Maynard a second time, and pushed him into the car, assisted by Coulter.
The car took off at speed, driving up to 160khm, towards Arrowtown. After about two minutes, the car stopped and Maynard was pushed out of the vehicle near Chartres Green. The car was being followed by Maynard’s girlfriend, who was also assaulted during the attack.
O’Rourke threw the meat cleaver in the Kawarau River before going back to his Frankton house to change clothes. The group drove to a house in Arrowtown, where one of the cars was hidden, and for the group to lay low for a few hours.
When spoken to by police, O’Rourke and Coulter admitted their actions and were co-operative.
Judge Kevin Phillips accepted a submission made by the pair’s lawyer Nic Soper that there was not a high level of premeditation for the kidnapping. However he found there was a high level of premeditation for the aggravated wounding.
Nevertheless, the two men were aware their actions were “stupid and cowardly”.
Judge Phillips gave O’Rourke and Coulter sentencing discounts for remorse, guilty pleas, cooperation and offers of reparation to Maynard.
He condemned their behaviour: “The alcohol and the bravado of it all got the best of you,” he told O’Rourke.
“This was extreme violence.”
He ordered both men to each pay $3000 to Maynard for emotional harm reparation.
Coulter was also today convicted and discharged for one charge of giving a false statement to police after an Easter road trip to Te Anau with alleged co-offenders O’Rourke, Jonathan Burke and Rachel Faul.
In May, Queenstown draughtsman Daniel John Kissell, 28, was sentenced to eight months’ home detention and 300 hours’ community work for one charge of wounding Maynard with intent to commit assault by violent means.
Arrowtown glazier Jonathan Charles Burke, 26, was sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment for a charge of intending to commit theft by violent means, rendering Maynard incapable of resistance.
Invercargill glazier Samuel Gordon Coupe, 29, was also sent to prison for two years and nine months for wounding Maynard with intent to commit assault by violent means and assaulting Maynard’s girlfriend Alice Frances Caig.
Rachel Maree Faul, 21, Charlotte Amelia Spencer Dickson, 18, and Brooke Sylvia Carpenter, 17, are yet to enter a plea for their alleged involvement. A trial for the three women is expected to take place next year.