Australian tourists turned Queenstown CBD into what police described as a “battlefield” during a rolling brawl involving a dozen men.
Police who attended the street fight in the early hours of Tuesday morning described a scene of carnage, with bodies lying everywhere on Shotover Street.
Senior constable Chris Blackford says: “They said it looked like a battlefield. They had to drive around people lying in the street.”
Most of the men ran off as police arrived but two 20-year-old Australians were caught and arrested. They were given a pre-charge warning.
A watching brief
Police say Queenstown’s CCTV system is a work in progress after its first month.
The 12 cameras around the town feed images back to these screens in the Queenstown Police Station CCTV control room and to computer hard drives.
Senior constable Sean Drader says: “We have the makings of a really good system but it will have to be expanded on over time.
There hasn’t been a major incident yet, thankfully, but that will, I suppose, be the real test of its effectiveness.”
Officers have weekly training sessions on using the equipment.
Dozy vandals could also benefit from a crash course. Three men who damaged a car on Camp Street on Saturday, at 5pm, then attempted to break one camera by shaking the pole after realising it was watching them.
Drader points out giving it a shake is unlikely to wipe the hard drives back at the station.
Queenstown police say their resources were stretched overnight Monday during the “Aussie invasion” – which saw them deal with three separate difficult incidents involving holidaymakers.
Along with the brawl, police were called to two different Queenstown hotels to alleged domestic violent incidents involving two Australian couples.
One couple, both in their early 20s, were treated for their injuries by St John paramedics while in custody.
The male suffered injuries “consistent with being hit with a solid object and bitten”, Blackford says.
They included a cut above his eye.
The pair also allegedly trashed their hotel room. Three of the Aussies will appear in Queenstown District Court to face charges relating to domestic violence.
Do the right thing
Police have praised a member of the public who reported an alleged drink-driver.
The 28-year-old New Zealander was stopped while driving from Wanaka to Queenstown last Thursday at 2am.
He was processed for drink-driving and blood test results are due back soon.
Blackford says: “We respond vigorously to reports from members of the public. People should think about how they would feel if they saw somebody driving who was obviously intoxicated, didn’t do anything and then a mile or so
down the road that driver was involved in a fatal crash.
“It shouldn’t be regarded as dobbing someone in but looking after your fellow beings.”
Always pay for the pie
A British man was caught stealing a pie worth $1.90 the same day he’d been given diversion for dishonestly using a ski pass.
Richard Lloyd Attrill, 26, admitted unwrapping half the pie while shopping in Fresh Choice Queenstown on Friday – then halfway through eating it, he decided he didn’t want it anymore and hid it on one of the shelves.
Caught by supermarket staff, the Wanaka-based kitchen hand admitted his actions and was subsequently charged with theft.
Attrill’s offending occurred on the same day he’d been granted diversion for fraudulently using ski pass valued at $88.
In Queenstown District Court on Monday, duty solicitor Rhona Daish told Judge Kevin Phillips that Attrill was “extremely ashamed of himself”.
“To some degree he’s traumatised and can’t explain what he did,” Daish told the court.
Daish asked for Attrill to be discharged without conviction because the consequences of a theft conviction for stealing a pie worth $1.90 would outweigh the offending.
Judge Phillips rejected that argument because both instances of Attrill’s offending related to dishonesty.
“You had to have thought about it, you had to understand the consequences of doing it. You are an adult male and not a silly man. That can only indicate to me that you have a bent on dishonesty.”
Attrill was convicted and discharged.
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