Taxi driver ‘devastated’
The manager of a taxi driver racially abused by a policewoman says discharging her without conviction has left his employee ‘‘devastated’’.
Constable Jeanette May McNee, 44, known as Jenny, appeared for a hearing in the Queenstown District Court before Judge Tony Couch and was discharged without a conviction, but ordered to pay reparation.
Two weeks ago the judge found McNee guilty of a charge of recklessly using insulting words to Malaysian taxi driver Ganesh Paramanathan on November 3 last year. The judge previously found that she used the words: ‘‘F. . . off to India, you come here and get all the Kiwi jobs. Eat your f. . . . . . curry and f. . . off to India. This is a Kiwi job.’’
After the hearing, Queenstown Taxis managing director Grant Scannell, told the Mirror he was upset and Paramanathan was devastated by the discharge. Scannell said he was not sure what sort of message discharging without conviction sent.
‘‘It blew us away but I haven’t finished with it yet. I’m gutted.’’ The judge found the offending was ‘‘entirely out of character’’ and ordered McNee to pay $388 to Queenstown Taxis to cover the cost of presenting CCTV footage during the trial, and pay $155 reparation to Paramanathan for lost wages and $300 for emotional harm.
Witnesses sought after death
Police are appealing for witnesses to identify amale hitch-hiker seen walking in Wanaka about the time Dutch snowboarder Coen van Rosmalen was run over by a taxi this month.
Police are trying to determine whether the hitch-hiker was in fact van Rosmalen.
Van Rosmalen died on September 14 as a result of his injuries and police are now close to completing their investigations into his death.
The accident happened near the intersection of Beacon Point Rd and Eely Point Rd about 3.30am.
Detective Senior Sergeant Colin Blackie is keen to hear from anybody who may have seen the hitch-hiker walking on the west side of Beacon Point Rd, heading north and away from town, near the intersection of Beacon Point Rd and Lakeside Drive between 2am and 3.40am.
Van Rosmalen’s body has been released back to his family. Police have been liaising with the Netherlands Embassy and his next of kin. Police will now refer the matter to the coroner.
Anderson still owes Sevens
Convicted Queenstown fraudster Richard Anderson has been summoned back to court after failing to pay reparation for the cash he took from the Sevens with Altitude committee.
Anderson, 53, appeared in the Queenstown District Court before Judge Michael Turner after it was found he still owed $48,000 of the $64,000 he defrauded from the national rugby sevens tournament.
The judge, who sentenced the former detective to 10 months’ home detention and ordered reparation for three charges of causing loss by deception in 2012, said he wanted to know why the funds had not been paid within two years as Anderson had promised.
‘‘On the face of it he’s in contempt, ‘‘ the judge said.
Lawyer Russell Mawhinney said a teleconference was being held with the Maori Land Court today to discuss a sale of land Anderson owned near Thames. He would gift $133,000 of the $308,000 sale price to his niece and was expected to be paid $175,000 in cash. Mawhinney, who was stood down by the judge until he put on a tie, said the funds would be transferred to a trust account. Invercargill bailiff Neil Brownridge went to Anderson’s property last week where he seized a Yamaha Wave Rider jetski and trailer and a BMW car. Brownridge told the court he questioned Anderson about camping gear, an old boat, the car and the jetski while executing a warrant to seize property and each time Anderson replied that it did not belong to him.
After hearing evidence, the judge found the jetski was owned by Queenstown businessman Mark Jessop, who had lent it to Anderson for at least three summers. Collections officer Marcia Farquharson said the car was also not in Anderson’s name.
The judge adjourned proceedings until December 15.
Home detention for drug offending
A man arrested during an undercover police sting into ecstasy and LSD dealing in Wanaka was sentenced to home detention and community work.
Tomu William Filikitonga, 36, chef, of Wanaka, appeared for sentencing before Judge Tony Couch in Queenstown District Court for cultivating cannabis, possession of cannabis for supply, possession of BZP, possession of ecstasy and possession of LSD, all on December 1 last year. He was arrested as part of Operation Viking, a police undercover sting targeting drug dealing in the town during ski season. Judge Couch sentenced him to 120 hours’ community work and nine months’ home detention with special conditions and standard postrelease conditions. The judge also ordered that $4605 in cash seized by police was forfeited and the balance returned to Filikitonga.