A former president of the Mongrel Mob’s Invercargill chapter who rammed a BNZ kiosk in downtown Queenstown was in a ‘‘psychotic state’’, his lawyer says.
The incident, which occurred about 11.45pm on March 10, was Shaun Verdun Te Kahu’s third offence that day.
About 5.30pm the 51-year-old was at Queenstown’s Hilton Hotel — he wasn’t a guest, but was lingering in the lobby, causing a nuisance.
According to a police summary, Te Kahu used a sharp object to scratch lettering into a painted plastered wall before getting into his Honda Civic and driving to Lake Esplanade.
He told police he was writing his name and ‘‘believed the staff were appreciative of his work’’.
Then, at 6.04pm, Te Kahu drove to Frankton Rd’s Z Energy station where he put $118.66 of petrol in his car before he drove off yelling something like ‘‘thank the police for the free fuel’’.
Back in Queenstown’s CBD hours later, Te Kahu got angry over an issue with the BNZ ATM on Camp St about 11.45pm so got into the car and reversed at speed into the self-service kiosk.
Video taken at the time showed him casually get out of the car to inspect the damage, get back in and ram it again.
The incident was witnessed by dozens of people on a busy Friday night in the resort’s CBD, with a few confronting a belligerent Te Kahu from a safe distance.
He drove off empty-handed as the first cop arrived on the scene, with another cop having to take evasive action to avoid being hit by Te Kahu’s vehicle.
Soon after, his car was spotted by police on Frankton Rd.
Te Kahu, following a bus, drove on the wrong side of the road, pulled back in behind the bus, then overtook it before swerving ‘‘all over the lane’’ and tailgating another vehicle.
The summary says he drove over a raised median island on to the wrong side of the road again, and went the wrong way around a roundabout before turning on to Kawarau Rd.
Heading south towards Kingson he reached speeds of up to 140kmh and was observed overtaking another vehicle on double-yellow lines before a blind corner.
Te Kahu’s vehicle was successfully spiked near Lumsden.
He was subsequently charged with intentional damage to BNZ Queenstown and Hilton Queenstown, dangerous driving, aggravated failing to stop for police and theft from Z Energy Queenstown.
At his sentencing in Invercargill’s court last week, lawyer Sonia Vidal said the offending occurred ‘‘against the backdrop of a psychotic state’’ that might have been induced by drugs or ‘‘some other issues going on’’.
Since the offending, he’d served the equivalent of a six-month prison sentence in custody, and wanted to focus on being a grandfather.
Judge Duncan Harvey told Te Kahu there were many young people in the area who were ‘‘getting into trouble’’ because they were under-
privileged and lacked proper guidance from the adults in their lives.
It would be a ‘‘good thing’’ if he passed on some life lessons to those young people, Harvey said.
‘‘You could do so much good, because you could stop a lot of these kids going on the track that you did.’’
He convicted Te Kahu and sentenced him to two years’ intensive supervision.