Wanaka man denies stock thefts Jury trial starts in Invercargill
AWanaka man accused of stealing livestock worth hundreds of thousands dollars appeared before a jury in the Invercargill District Court on Monday. Simon Robert Hawkins pleaded not guilty to 22 charges of theft, relating to deer, sheep, stags, velvet and barley taken from Criffel Deer Farm and West Wanaka Station farmer Grant Cochrane between 2009 and 2011. Hawkins was jointly charged with Dean Thomas Herd, manager of Criffel Deer Farm, who has pleaded guilty to all charges. Crown prosecutor John Young said Herd had given Hawkins the livestock to take to Alliance to be killed, and the two intended to split the profits. In total, 631 deer, worth $278,000, were taken, along with 11 stags valued at $10,000 and about 120 sheep. Hawkins claimed he thought the livestock belonged to Mr Herd and believed he was acting legally when selling the animals, and the jury would have to decide whether this was the case, Mr Young said. ’’There’s no doubt Mr Hawkins took the deer. The question or the issue will be did he do so dishonestly?’’ Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said Hawkins had believed he was dealing with ‘‘an honest and reliable man’’, and when he discovered the stock was not Mr Herd’s to sell, had co-operated with police. The trial, being heard before Judge Michael Turner, is expected to continue for two weeks.
Robbery accused remanded
Four young defendants involved in an alleged robbery in Albert Town appeared in Queenstown District Court. The defendants, 15, 17, 18 and 20, appeared before Judge Michael Turner in Youth Court and were jointly charged with assault with intent to injure a tourist on January. The assault charge was withdrawn and all four face a charge of robbing $350 cash. The 20-year-old appeared in the Invercargill District Court on Friday and was remanded in custody until February 11. The 18-year-old faces five other charges, threatening to injure with intent to intimidate on December 31, offering to sell Class C ritalin between August and December, offering to sell class B MDMA on September 5, offering to sell cannabis to persons over 18 on January 9 and resisting police on December 31. He was remanded in custody by consent to appear in Youth Court in Queenstown on February 11. The 15-year-old, whose case was heard via telephone link, and 17-year-old were remanded on bail to the same date.
Tagged on Facebook
A graffiti artist in Queenstown was nabbed defacing private property after posting photographs of his work on Facebook. Senior constable Chris Blackford, of Queenstown, said the owner of a container on the Lower Shotover delta reported the graffiti to police last week. The container owner managed to track down the graffiti artist after being alerted to pictures on social media. ‘‘He was stupid enough to post pictures of himself on Facebook tagging.’’ The teenager, 18, was not charged but was required to clean the container.
Women’s underwear has been repeatedly stolen from washing lines in Fernhill. Blackford said women’s underwear, bras and knickers were reported stolen and it appeared thefts were ongoing for at least three months. If anyone suspected clothing was stolen they should report it to police. ‘‘Petty theft of ladies’ underwear can lead to more serious offending if not checked,’’ he said.
Last Wednesday at 7.30am police spoke to a 61-year-old transient man in Queenstown central business district. The man was allegedly carrying three knives in a backpack and was making comments about stabbing people. He was referred for amental health assessment and the Salvation Army, who arranged for the man to travel by bus to Picton.
Partygoers caused $5000 worth of damage to an Arthurs Pt house earlier this month. Mr Blackford said a woman reported the damage to police on Saturday. She told police the damage was caused by a group of young people between January 13 and 16. Walls were holed and there was other damage and inquiries were continuing.
Two Chinese nationals on a cycling tour of New Zealand were given warnings for unlawfully spending the night in a sleepout. They told police they arrived too late in Arrowtown to secure accommodation for the night on Saturday so they moved in to a sleepout at a property in Bedford St.