Brothers feel st­ing of court’s tail

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Scor­pion sale

Two Ar­row­town brothers were sen­tenced to com­mu­nity de­ten­tion for se­ri­ous biose­cu­rity breaches af­ter scor­pi­ons were smug­gled into Queen­stown from Aus­tralia. James Alexan­der Grant, 24, elec­tri­cian, and his brother Matthew Stuart Grant, 23, builder, ap­peared for sen­tence be­fore Judge Kevin Phillips in Queen­stown Dis­trict Court for, re­spec­tively, pos­ses­sion and dis­posal of scor­pi­ons and pos­ses­sion and sale of scor­pi­ons be­tween Fe­bru­ary and April. They were each sen­tenced to two months’ com­mu­nity de­ten­tion, with a daily 7pm to 7am cur­few, 150 hours com­mu­nity work and or­dered to pay $1000 to­wards the costs of the prose­cu­tion to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries. Judge Phillips said the po­ten­tial for harm was high but noted the brothers were dili­gent, in­dus­tri­ous men. ‘‘I have to bring it home to you, the com­mu­nity and any other per­sons ap­proached by im­porters . . . that the courts will take a strong han­dle upon it. ‘‘It’s im­pos­si­ble here to fore­see what harm a colony of them could do. Your ac­tions made that risk high and your sen­tence will show that peo­ple will re­spect our bor­ders.’’ Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries lawyer Grant Fletcher told the court there was no dif­fer­ence in terms of sen­tenc­ing op­tions be­tween the charges but noted im­port­ing, a charge the brothers did not face, was the more cul­pa­ble. Lawyer So­nia Vi­dal said the men were not di­rectly in­volved in im­port­ing the scor­pi­ons and did not seek their im­por­ta­tion. Two oth­ers, Iszac Wil­liam Wal­ters, 23, and a fourth man faced charges of breach­ing the Biose­cu­rity Act af­ter six black rock scor­pi­ons were smug­gled from Aus­tralia. Scor­pi­ons were smug­gled into New Zealand in film can­is­ters and given to James Grant. In turn, he gave four scor­pi­ons to his brother who sold two. In April, the MPI was told a live scor­pion was be­ing kept in a Queen­stown bed­room. Investigators re­cov­ered a scor­pion from a wardrobe and were told it was found in a take­away box at Queen­stown Pri­mary School. The min­istry searched the grounds us­ing ul­tra­vi­o­let de­tec­tors, but noth­ing was found. A pro­duc­tion or­der was granted for cell­phone texts, some of which dis­cussed scor­pi­ons and sug­gested more peo­ple were aware the crea­tures were in Queen­stown. Wal­ters is ex­pected to be sen­tenced in the Christchurch Dis­trict Court on De­cem­ber 11.

Chop­per pi­lot pinged

The ac­tions of a Ran­furly he­li­copter pi­lot who lied to investigators af­ter crash­ing while car­ry­ing out un­li­censed com­mer­cial work could not get much worse, the Alexan­dra Dis­trict Court heard. Daniel James Parker, 22, ap­peared be­fore Judge Michael Cros­bie as Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity prose­cu­tor Fletcher Pilditch out­lined a raft of breaches to CAA rules. Parker was car­ry­ing out agri­cul­tural work in his Robin­son R22 on Lochar Downs Farm in Cromwell on March 16 last year when he col­lided with an ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem. Mr Pilditch said Parker did not have the nec­es­sary li­cence to un­der­take com­mer­cial work – a li­cence that was not sim­ply a ‘‘bu­reau­cratic ex­er­cise’’ to ob­tain but one which cov­ered train­ing pro­to­cols and safety sys­tems. Af­ter the crash, Parker then ‘‘care­lessly’’ flew the dam­aged air­craft to a truck which trans­ported the air­craft to a hangar where he again flew the air­craft off the truck. ‘‘It was only in the air for a short pe­riod of time but it sim­ply should never have been flown in that con­di­tion at all,’’ Mr Pilditch said. Parker, with­out be­ing trained or cer­ti­fied, car­ried out re­pairs to the he­li­copter rather than get­ting a li­censed avi­a­tion me­chanic to carry out the work. Fur­ther­more, dur­ing the CAA in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Parker ‘‘mis­rep­re­sented the truth’’, telling safety investigators re­peat­edly he had ‘‘landed hard’’ rather than col­lided with an ir­ri­ga­tor. ‘‘It can­not get much worse than this. He tried to fix the air­craft, then went on to hide the events. "The com­bi­na­tion of of­fences must fall within the most ag­gra­vat­ing and se­ri­ous range of the spec­trum un­der the CAA act.’’ De­fence lawyer Brett Cooper said the of­fend­ing was ‘‘an illustration of youth and in­ex­pe­ri­ence’’. Judge Cros­bie re­manded Parker to reap­pear on De­cem­ber 12 in Dunedin for sen­tenc­ing on charges of op­er­at­ing an air­craft on a com­mer­cial agri­cul­tural air­craft op­er­a­tion with­out hold­ing a com­mer­cial pi­lot’s li­cence; op­er­at­ing an air­craft in aman­ner that caused un­nec­es­sary dan­ger to prop­erty – col­lid­ing with an ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem; on or about March 17 op­er­at­ing an air­craft in a care­less man­ner by fly­ing the air­craft on to and off a truck when it was not in an air­wor­thy con­di­tion; car­ry­ing out main­te­nance and re­pairs to the he­li­copter with­out a li­cence; and pro­vid­ing false in­for­ma­tion to the CAA about the in­ci­dent.

Alexan­dra Youth Court

Two teenagers ac­cused of a raft of bur­glar­ies and thefts would prob­a­bly have been re­manded in cus­tody had they been adults, such was the se­ri­ous­ness of the charges, a judge told the pair in the Alexan­dra Youth Court. The boys, both 15 at the time of al­leged of­fend­ing, ap­peared be­fore Judge Michael Cros­bie yes­ter­day. ‘‘This is as se­ri­ous as it gets. There is a sub­stan­tial amount of of­fend­ing in re­la­tion to you. What that means to you through this process – ev­ery­one is go­ing to be watch­ing you very closely.’’ He told the boys to ex­pect to do some ‘‘hard yards’’ in the form of com­mu­nity ser­vice. ‘‘There is go­ing to be some hard yards for you - the equiv­a­lent to what we would ex­pect an adult to do. ‘‘Ex­pect to be tied up for quite a while – that is how bad the of­fend­ing is. If you were an adult fac­ing th­ese charges, you would not be on bail. That is how se­ri­ous it is. You would likely have been re­manded in cus­tody till the trial date or the mat­ter was dis­posed of.’’ The judge noted that the boys had al­ready been granted bail by a jus­tice of the peace. Af­ter the boys’ ar­rest, po­lice said they had cre­ated ‘‘may­hem’’ around Alexan­dra and Clyde in an al­leged three-month crime spree. Po­lice re­cov­ered about 100 items they be­lieved had been stolen from in­se­cure ve­hi­cles and garages since early Au­gust and as re­cently as Oc­to­ber 20. One al­leged of­fender racked up $3000 be­tween two credit cards over a weekend of in­ter­net gam­ing. It was through the online ac­tiv­ity that in­ter­net-savvy Con­sta­ble Rowan Wil­liams was able to trace the boys. The judge di­rected that a fam­ily group con­fer­ence be held. Both boys were re­manded to reap­pear on De­cem­ber 12.

Labourer blasted

A Fern­hill labourer who se­ri­ously in­jured a pa­tron in an un­pro­voked as­sault in a Queen­stown club was sen­tenced to six months’ home de­ten­tion. Sa­muel James Cor­son, 21, ap­peared for sen­tence be­fore Judge Kevin Phillips in Queen­stown Dis­trict Court for in­jur­ing with reck­less dis­re­gard for the safety of oth­ers on July 14. He was or­dered to pay $7850, sen­tenced to 200 hours com­mu­nity work and given a warn­ing of the con­se­quences if another of­fence in­volv­ing vi­o­lence was com­mit­ted. The court was told Cor­son twice punched the vic­tim, who did not know his at­tacker, on the dance floor of Sky­Bar, pos­si­bly af­ter mis­tak­ing him for some­one in­volved in a fight ear­lier that night. The vic­tim, 37-year-old Auck­land vis­i­tor Mike Knight, suf­fered mul­ti­ple frac­tures in­clud­ing a bro­ken eye socket, a bro­ken nose and col­lapsed si­nus and needed surgery to in­sert three metal plates in his face. Judge Phillips said it was an un­pro­voked at­tack on a vul­ner­a­ble vic­tim stand­ing in a bar do­ing no wrong, he said. ‘‘Vi­o­lence at this level is al­ways se­ri­ous. The court has said be­fore, there’s fast be­com­ing a time when of­fend­ers like you will face the con­se­quences and go through that door to prison and de­stroy their lives ac­cord­ingly, de­stroy their fam­i­lies. ‘‘This type of be­hav­iour will not be tol­er­ated in any rea­son­able so­ci­ety.’’ The judge said Cor­son needed to be held to ac­count for his ac­tions and vi­o­lence on li­censed premises had to be de­nounced and deterred. Lawyer Mike Newell said his client was re­morse­ful and of pre­vi­ous good char­ac­ter.

Us­ing a weapon

Clin­ton James Hepi, 41, of Fern­hill, was sen­tenced to 18 months’ jail for as­sault with a weapon on May 5 and as­sault and dis­or­derly be­hav­iour that was likely in the cir­cum­stances to cause vi­o­lence against per­sons to start on Septem­ber 21. The court was told he was drink­ing in De­bajo when he got into an ar­gu­ment. When the vic­tim left the bar into Cow Ln, Hepi was there hold­ing a metal rail­ing pole, which he swung and struck the vic­tim in the fore­head. In the Septem­ber in­ci­dent he punched a vic­tim in the head.

Wound­ing

Rawiri Wiremu James Dais, 20, ap­pren­tice, of Wanaka, was con­victed and re­manded in cus­tody for sen­tence on De­cem­ber 16 for wound­ing with reck­less dis­re­gard on Au­gust 24. A vic­tim was punched un­con­scious with an up­per­cut and needed surgery to re­con­struct a bro­ken nose and a metal plate in­serted be­low his left eye. The judge said he con­sid­ered a jail sen­tence in­evitable.

Bio­haz­ard: Brothers James Grant, left, and Matthew Grant at sen­tenc­ing in Queen­stown Dis­trict Court.

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