Pow­der Room’s prob­lems

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Elec­tri­cal fault causes fire

An elec­tric­ity ex­pert was work­ing to de­ter­mine the cause of a fire that de­stroyed a 19th century home­stead on Lower Shotover Rd on Sun­day.

Fire safety in­ves­ti­ga­tor Stu Ide said he was com­fort­able the fire had an elec­tri­cal source.

‘‘It may be that a ro­dent has chewed through a wire.’’

The property in Lower Shotover Rd, once a part of Cloverdale sta­tion, was built in the 1860s. The his­toric wooden-clad sec­tion of the property was de­stroyed by an in­tense fire but the mod­ern end was saved by fire­fight­ing crews.

Four fam­i­lies have owned the property since it was built in the mid-19th century. The fire started about 7am on Sun­day, when guests stay­ing with home­own­ers Phillip and Jane Ge­orge were wo­ken by smoke alarms, quickly raised their hosts and got out.

Phillip Ge­orge told The South­land Times on Sun­day that guests John Mills and Greg Clarke woke to smoke fill­ing the property.

‘‘The home we loved and cher­ished, and it’s a tragedy for Queen­stown to see such a his­toric home go up in flames.’’

The property was in­sured for $5 mil­lion. Drug-snort­ing DJs, naked cus­tomers and a drunk duty man­ager be­came a ‘‘nightmare’’ for a first-time bar owner in Queen­stown.

The Pow­der Room, owned by Syd­ney­based ex-pat Kiwi lawyer Ra­jesh Pa­tel, had a hear­ing on Mon­day for a new tem­po­rary liquor li­cence with Queen­stown’s District Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee.

Since late last year the Eureka Ar­cade bar has been run on a se­ries of tem­po­rary author­ity li­cences, as its per­ma­nent liquor li­cence has been vig­or­ously op­posed by po­lice.

Last month Pow­der Room lawyers suc­cess­fully ar­gued that the mat­ter should be heard by the Al­co­hol Li­cens­ing Author­ity.

Re­tired District Court judge and District Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee chair­man Bill Un­win said Pa­tel’s in­tro­duc­tion to bar own­er­ship must have been ‘‘a nightmare’’.

Footage was shown of a bar­man, who was on a trial night for em­ploy­ment, crouch­ing be­hind the bar and chop­ping lines of pow­der on to a clip­board, which he then snorted and shared with a DJ.

The bar­man had not been hired and the DJ had not been re­booked.

‘‘There’s zero tol­er­ance for drugs,’’ Pa­tel said.

Sergeant Linda Stevens said that on Novem­ber 23 a cus­tomer stripped naked in the bar and, af­ter knock­ing into an­other cus­tomer, a fight started.

The man who threw punches was ar­rested, along with an as­so­ciate of the naked man. The man charged with fight­ing re­ceived di­ver­sion, while the as­so­ciate re­ceived a pre-charge warn­ing.

On De­cem­ber 10, Sergeant Kate Pirovano checked the bar and while talk­ing to a tem­po­rary duty man­ager’s no­ticed that her eyes were glazed. The man­ager was breath tested and re­turned a read­ing above the le­gal driv­ing limit of 400 mi­cro­grams of al­co­hol per litre of breath. Pa­tel said staff used to be able to have three drinks dur­ing a shift, but the bar now had a zero drinks pol­icy.

Other in­ci­dents po­lice noted were food not be­ing avail­able for cus­tomers dur­ing a check be­cause stale sup­plies had been thrown out, and a pro­mo­tion that breached li­cens­ing codes be­cause it said a bungy jump could be won with ev­ery drink in­stead of any pur­chase.

Pa­tel ad­mit­ted that there had been teething prob­lems with the bar, which he had been to twice since be­com­ing an 85 per cent share­holder late last year.

Un­win re­served the com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion but said it would be is­sued within two weeks.

Guilty in Mar­shall as­sault

Aman has ad­mit­ted at­tack­ing for­mer All Black Justin Mar­shall out­side a Queen­stown strip club.

Tai Sa­muel Neil­son, a 25-yearold labourer, pleaded guilty to a charge of as­sault with in­tent to in­jure when he ap­peared at Christchurch District Court on Mon­day.

Po­lice al­lege Mar­shall was at­tacked by two men out­side Club 88 on Shotover St on April 18.

The for­mer rugby star did not suf­fer se­ri­ous in­juries and re­turned to his role as a com­men­ta­tor for SKY TV the fol­low­ing weekend.

Neil­son’s co-ac­cused, Adam Kearns, 23, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of as­sault with in­tent to in­jure and elected trial by jury.

At the time of the in­ci­dent, he was in Queen­stown cel­e­brat­ing his birth­day. Kearns and Neil­son had been drink­ing at Club 88.

Kearns claims Mar­shall was there also, and the al­leged al­ter­ca­tion oc­curred as they left. Mar­shall had a lawyer, Al­lis­ter Davis, present at court.

Mar­shall says he had been in the club ear­lier, but he had been leav­ing a con­ve­nience store with a steak pie when he was at­tacked.

Af­ter Neil­son’s guilty plea, the case was stood down so that Com­mu­nity Pro­ba­tion could make a brief re­port.

How­ever, af­ter see­ing the re­port Judge Neave de­cided that the case should be re­manded for a full pro­ba­tion re­port and sen­tenc­ing on Au­gust 20. The re­port will cover his suit­abil­ity for a home or com­mu­nity de­ten­tion sen­tence.

The sen­tenc­ing ses­sion will also ad­dress the is­sue of Neil­son’s un­paid fines. Neil­son re­mains on bail.

Af­ter read­ing the ini­tial re­port, Judge Neave said: ‘‘Some of his com­ments don’t re­flect well on him.’’

He told Neil­son’s de­fence coun­sel Ni­cola Pointer: ‘‘You might get him to re­think the con­clud­ing com­ments in the re­port, Miss Pointer.’’

The com­ments were not read out in court.

Wens­ley win

The Wens­ley fam­ily has won a court bat­tle over a trou­bled apart­ment com­plex in Queen­stown.

In the High Court at In­ver­cargill last month, Jus­tice Man­der ruled in favour of 875 Frank­ton Rd, a com­pany run by the Wens­ley fam­ily, and or­dered pay­ment by Suresh Dan­dekar af­ter a sale and pur­chase agree­ment to buy two units in 2007 went south.

Court documents say Dan­dekar agreed to buy two units in the Ma­rina Apart­ments com­plex in Oc­to­ber 2007 from Wens­ley De­vel­op­ments for $1.136 mil­lion with a de­posit of $113,625.

The par­ties started ne­go­ti­a­tions but Dan­dekar raised queries about code com­pli­ance cer­tifi­cates and apart­ment balustrades, can­celling the agree­ment in De­cem­ber 2008.

Wens­ley served a set­tle­ment no­tice and in Oc­to­ber 2010 the units were sold to an­other fam­ily firm, 875 Frank­ton Rd. Court ac­tion al­leg­ing breach of sale and pur­chase agree­ments was started in 2011.

Dan­dekar counter-claimed that he was al­legedly in­duced to en­ter into agree­ments as a re­sult of mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The case was re­ferred for trial but Dan­dekar failed to pro­duce any sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence, court documents said.

The judge was sat­is­fied the Wens­ley firm proved Dan­dekar failed to set­tle and or­dered sums of $409,160 and $404,042, plus in­ter­est, in favour of the Wens­ley firm.

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