Suppression lapses for blackmailer

A Central Otago man, attempting to right a past wrong, has been convicted of blackmail.

Dayle Graeme Stephen, 49, of Ettrick, can now be named, 10 months after his first court appearance after name suppression lapsed.

Suppression orders prevent Mountain Scene publishing his motive for the offending, and the identities of his co-offender and victim.

According to a police summary of facts, on December 4, 2022, Stephen used a new cellphone with a prepaid card to call the male victim.

Without identifying himself, he told the man he knew his address, wife’s name and how many children he had, and said he needed to ‘‘redeem himself’’ for an alleged crime he committed with two other men in Queenstown 14 years earlier.

Stephen threatened to go to the man’s home and tell his wife and children if the victim hung up.

He told the victim to ‘‘get his chequebook out’’ and say how much he was willing to pay to ‘‘get the matter off his chest’’.

The victim refused to pay any money because he wasn’t involved in the alleged crime, stating it was a ‘‘matter for the police’’ before he hung up.

Stephen subsequently sent more than 20 texts reiterating the threats, so the victim blocked the number.

The defendant then called the victim’s wife and left a voicemail stating he was trying to contact her husband. He then used a different cellphone to send more threatening messages to the victim.

He called four more times over the following three months, stating there was a ‘‘case to be made’’ against the victim.

When police first contacted Stephen, he admitted his involvement, saying ‘‘I was a wee bit hot-headed, I was pretty f…ed
off by the storey (sic)’’.

In a later police interview, he refused to make any comment.

In Queenstown’s court on Monday, counsel Louise Denton said the offending was an attempt to get compensation for his co-offender for a past wrong.

The pair should have gone to the police rather than take the actions they did, Denton said.

Judge Catriona Doyle said the ‘‘premeditated and ongoing’’ offending had an enormous impact on the victim, both mentally and physically, but Stephen accepted he ‘‘went about this entirely the wrong way’’.

Stephen was sentenced to 350 hours’ community work and ordered to pay the victim $1500 emotional harm reparation.

Doyle reserved her decision in relation to Stephen’s co-offender, who has final name suppression.

Covert filming

An Aussie tourist told cops he covertly filmed men showering at a Queenstown backpackers so he had something to masturbate to.

Brodie Garrett Mayne, 26, from Tasmania, filmed his first victim in the CBD hostel’s shared bathroom about 8pm on February 1, and filmed his second 15 minutes later.

The following night, in just over an hour, he filmed another four men — his offending only came to an end when the final victim noticed a cellphone sticking above the shower door.

Mayne left the bathroom before he could be confronted.

Police arrested him later that night and found the video recordings on his phone — he was subsequently charged with, and admitted, six charges of making an intimate visual recording.

During sentencing in Queenstown’s court on Monday, counsel Megan Waller said Mayne suffered from anxiety and depression, was under stress from working three jobs, was having difficulty sleeping and ‘‘things came to the surface’’.

He was ‘‘disgusted and ashamed of himself,’’ she said.

While Doyle said a short term of imprisonment would normally be appropriate for Mayne’s ‘‘abhorrent’’ behaviour, he was a first-time offender, appeared to show some insight as to the cause of his offending, and had entered early guilty pleas.

She convicted him, deferring the sentence for 12 months, and ordered he pay one identified victim $1000 emotional harm reparation.

Other sentences

● Thomas Craig Myles, 31, builder, of Wānaka, drink-driving (600mcg), Beacon Point Rd, February 2, fined $500, disqualified seven months.

● Wayde Robert Sidney Adams, 29, engineer, of Frankton, drink-driving (101mg), Peninsula Rd, December 29, fined $600, medical and analyst fees $265.34, disqualified six months.

● Christopher Charles Skakun, 33, bar manager, of Gibbston, drink-driving (687mcg), Hensman Rd, June 16, Queenstown, fined $500, disqualified 28 days, alcohol interlock provisions.

● Charlie Belton Rezek, 22, Australian national, of Queenstown, injuring by unlawful act, July 29, Queenstown, discharged, $1000 emotional harm reparation.

● Rudi James Cyprian Beavan, 18, labourer, of Arrowtown, suspended driving, Anglesea St, September 20, discharged, disqualified six months.

● Lewis Callum Ian McDonald, 32, of Frankton, suspended driving, Lucas Pl, August 15, discharged, disqualified six months.

● Michael Adam Chisholm, 21, of Lake Hayes Estate, drink-driving (499mcg), Howards Dr, September 9, discharged.

● James Harris, 50, of Frankton, drink-driving (816mcg), dangerous driving, Kawarau Rd, June 22, discharged, disqualified six months.

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