Uruguayan pleads guilty to Queenstown indecent assault


A Uruguayan man who made repeated unwanted sexual advances towards a Queenstown woman has appeared in court.

Martin Avenatti-Cuna pleaded guilty to indecent assault at Queenstown District Court this morning, after the incident in December.

The 27-year-old, whose wife was on holiday at the time, had been out drinking in Queenstown with a friend.

Avenatti-Cuna travelled to his Lake Hayes Estate home with the woman and invited her to come inside. When she declined the invitation, he tried to kiss her several times, touched her breasts through her clothing and slid his hand up her skirt.

Avenatti-Cuna, who has lived in New Zealand for five years, also tried to pull the woman out of the car. The attack only ended when she called for help.

Defence counsel Mike Newell says: “He’s extremely remorseful and realises this is totally unacceptable.

“He does not usually drink alcohol, so it had a greater effect on him.”

Judge Kevin Phillips remanded Avenatti-Cuna on bail until sentencing on February 11. Judge Phillips called for pre-sentence reports, which would include the option of home detention.

But Judge Phillips says: “A custodial sentence is right on the cards.”

Plasterer in dock for drugs

A Queenstown plasterer has been sentenced to community work and supervision after admitting cultivating cannabis.

David James Perrett, 30, claimed he smoked the drug to help him with anxiety and to get to sleep.

Judge Phillips says: “You might think that but in reality it is the cause of anxiety and neuroses.”

Police executed a search warrant a Perrett’s Frankton Road home on November 9 last year. They seized about 30 grams of cannabis, 18 seedlings and smoking paraphernalia including bongs and grinders.

Perrett also had heat lamps, although the seedlings were found outside the property.

Defence counsel Mike Newell told the court that Perrett, who has a previous conviction for cultivation in 2002, had stopped smoking since the raid and intended to remain clean.

Judge Phillips says Perrett should now be mature enough to know the consequences of cannabis addiction.

The plasterer was sentenced to 80 hours’ community work and nine months’ supervision, which includes an alcohol and drug assessment and any needed counselling. Judge Phillips also made an order for the destruction of the cannabis, plants and utensils.

History of violence

A Queenstown cleaner has been fined $300 for fighting in public.

Jessie Israel Wrigley was arrested by police at Lakeview Holiday Park, Gorge Road, on Saturday.

The 31-year-old pleaded guilty at Queenstown District Court this morning telling the court he began fighting after an argument got out of hand. 

Wrigley says he “lost it” after a friend threatened him with an air rifle.

Judge Kevin Phillips says: “You have an horrendous history of serious violence.”

Brazilian Otavio Moreira De Souza was also charged with fighting in public after the incident. The 18-year-old was remanded at large without plea to a later date so he could be aided by an interpreter.

Teen driver in trouble

A 19-year-old driver was banned from the roads for seven months and sentenced to 60 hours’ community work after drink driving and breaching the conditions of his restricted licence.

Tyre fitter Kayden Michael Smith, of Lake Hayes Estate, was stopped by police on Shotover Street at 4.45am on December 9. His blood alcohol content was 34 milligrams per millilitre of blood. The adult legal limit is 80mgs but there is limit for under 20s is zero.

Smith was also twice caught driving with just his elder brother in the car, who is a disqualified driver. It means Smith was breaching the conditions of his restricted licence, which requires him to be accompanied by a suitable driver.