Woman pleads guilty after four nights in Queenstown cells

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After four nights in custody, a French woman living in Queenstown has admitted a raft of alcohol-related offences.
Suzie Suptille, 30, today pleaded guilty in Queenstown District Court to charges of disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence, drink driving, dangerous driving and failing to accompany police.

Suptille breached her bail twice – the most recent breach resulting in her arrest and subsequent custody in police cells for the past four days.

Suptille has pleaded not guilty to additional charges of unlawful possession of a motor vehicle and assaulting a man.

The court heard that Suptille, who works as a cleaner for Alpine Supermarket at night and at Red Rock during the day, got into a Subaru Impreza car belonging to one of her employers at 4.25am on January 1 and drove along Frankton Road away from Queenstown.

Suptille was driving on the wrong side of the road when she came into the path of a taxi travelling head-on towards her. The taxi driver had to take evasive action and swerve away. The victim’s car hit the taxi but only minor damage resulted.

Suptille continued driving and the taxi driver followed till she pulled over. The taxi driver called police.

When police arrived she refused to accompany them to the station, resulting in her being arrested. She eventually blew a reading of 765 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath –almost twice the legal limit.

On February 20 she was sitting outside the ASB bank on Camp Street with friends. A male friend began yelling at nearby police and Suptille also became verbally abusive. She became physically aggressive and verbally abusive towards a police officer and she was arrested.

Her two bail breaches involved drinking alcohol and not being at home for her set curfew, as required by the courts.

Duty solicitor Mike Newell says Suptille has had “a big wake-up call” about rules around bail after spending the past four nights in police cells.

“Bail conditions are not something that can be treated lightly. The message has now got home to her,” Newell says.

Police opposed bail.

Judge Turner convicted Suptille on the charges she admitted and remanded her on bail – with strict conditions – for sentencing on March 26. The defended matters will also be dealt with that day.

The judge ordered a reparation report and a presentence report to consider community detention – although there was no indication that that would be the likely sentence. 

Arrowtown man admits assaults

An Arrowtown man who admitted punching someone in a bar after an argument over putting wood on a fire has been sentenced.

Gary James Cody, 61, today pleaded guilty in Queenstown District Court to assaulting Trent Palmer at the New Orleans Hotel on August 24 last year.

The court heard that Cody was having his first drink at the bar after work that night when he asked an off-duty bar employee to put a log of wood on the fire. Palmer, drinking nearby, took exception to the request and an altercation between the two began. Cody punched Palmer twice in the face, causing injuries to his mouth. Palmer did not require medical treatment.

Cody’s lawyer Phena Byrne says Cody took exception to Palmer speaking forcefully and telling him to “F-off”. Cody had been asked by another staff member to request the off-duty worker to put a log on the fire.

Byrne says Cody acted in self-defence when Palmer “grabbed him by the scarf”.

“He wholly regrets the incident.”

Judge Michael Turner convicted and sentenced Cody to 60 hours’ community work, plus ordered him to pay $500 to Palmer for emotional harm.

“Whatever issue that exists between you and Mr Palmer needs to come to an end,” Judge Turner says.

Cannabis at Customs

Company director Garry James Barnes has admitted possessing cannabis after being discovered with it by Customs officers at Queenstown Airport.

Barnes, a 49-year-old Kiwi who works in Western Australia, had travelled to Queenstown from Sydney on February 20. Customs officials inspecting camping gear he’d brought over with him found 12.2 grams of cannabis plant.

Barnes told cops that he last used the gear a year ago and was surprised to find the cannabis in there.

He was convicted and fined $350 plus court costs.

Stealing on the job

Frenchman Guillaume Noel Pene has been fined $250 for stealing a smart phone from a customer while working at The Warehouse.

Pene, 30, was working as a checkout operator at The Warehouse when he served a woman who left her Samsung Galaxy phone, valued at $800, at the counter.

She returned soon after to find Pene’s aisle closed and when she confronted him about it, he denied stealing the phone. Video evidence proved the contrary, prosecuting sergeant Ian Collin says.

Pene told cops that he was too embarrassed to admit the offending but wanted to return the phone, so he handed it in to a local Vodafone store.

Duty solicitor Mike Newell says Pene knows his actions were stupid and he regrets them.

He has since lost his job at The Warehouse.

Judge Turner convicted and fined Pene $250 plus court costs.