Taxi driver ‘dev­as­tated’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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