A sour stoush between two Gibbston booze businesses has gone another round - this time in the High Court.
Owners of neighbouring Remarkable Wines tasting room and Gibbston Tavern clashed over water access from nearby Camp Creek.
It comes just three months after a tussle over glasses between wine business director Richard Guthrey and publican Nicola Field resulted in a common assault charge.
Police downgraded and eventually dropped the charge against Guthrey, 68, who demanded an apology from cops.
He then brought in the lawyers to defend one of his firm’s ‘rights’ to access water from Camp Creek via the land owned by Field’s company, Camp Creek Ltd.
Field was in the process of selling the tavern and Guthrey wanted to ensure one potential ‘easement’ agreed in December 2010 would remain in force.
An ‘easement’ is legal jargon stating the right of one property owner to use property belonging to someone else, usually a neighbour, for a pipeline for example.
Christchurch barrister Jai Moss, on behalf of Camp Creek Ltd, told the High Court another easement already exists on the land.
Moss also states the sole reason for the application “is to frustrate the conditional sale and purchase agreement for the property … in order to obtain leverage to settle related proceedings”.
Those district court proceedings relate to a different spring-sourced water right.
It is claimed Guthrey also sought leverage to resolve the encroachment of the wine cellar’s building over Field’s property.
Remarkable Wines Ltd’s application was declined by Justice Rachel Dunningham, following a hearing on October 7.
She found the existing easement satisfied the right claimed by the company.
That conclusion meant she did not have to consider Moss’ contention the application was a bargaining chip.
Dunningham, however, thinks it “unlikely” the application was lodged for improper purposes.
Rather it was done in the genuine belief that Remarkable Wines needed to protect its rights should its district court proceedings fail. Dunningham reserved the issue of costs.