Rental car firms not to blame

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Tourist driv­ers need to make it their re­spon­si­bil­ity to know whether they have the skill to drive in New Zealand, a Queen­stown judge says.

Judge Christina Cook said she did not be­lieve rental-car com­pa­nies were at fault when hir­ing cars to tourists in­volved in crashes.

The com­ments were raised at the Queen­stown Dis­trict Court sen­tenc­ing of Chi­nese woman Qian Li, 35, on three charges of care­less driv­ing caus­ing in­jury, af­ter a se­ri­ous crash at Gibb­ston Val­ley on Fe­bru­ary 21.

Li lost con­trol of a rental car and spun into an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle car­ry­ing Paul and Rosa Whit­mell, who were vis­it­ing from the United King­dom.

Paul Whit­mell suf­fered bro­ken ribs, a bro­ken el­bow, punc­tured lung and cuts and bruis­ing, while Rosa Whit­mell suf­fered frac­tures to her ribs, wrist, ster­num and eye socket as well as in­ter­nal ab­domen in­juries.

Lawyer Bryce Whit­ing said there were ‘‘se­ri­ous ques­tions’’ about whether it was re­spon­si­ble of rental car com­pa­nies to let tourists drive in Cen­tral Otago.

‘‘I re­ally don’t think they have the ex­pe­ri­ence or skill to drive in Cen­tral Otago,’’ he said.

The judge said Li should have been con­fi­dent to drive in New Zealand be­fore hir­ing a rental car and been aware of the chal­lenges of driv­ing on New Zealand roads.

The crash had been caused by an er­ror of judg­ment with sub­stan­tial con­se­quences, she said.

Li was or­dered to pay a $5000 repa­ra­tion and emo­tional-harm pay­ment to the cou­ple.

She was also fined $500 for in­jur­ing her friend in the crash.


A for­mer shop as­sis­tant at Ferg­baker, a sis­ter busi­ness to Queen­stown’s leg­endary Ferg­burger, has ad­mit­ted steal­ing from it.

Neeta Dandgey, 25, ad­mit­ted steal­ing cash from the busi­ness but a dis­puted facts hear­ing would be held on March 18 to al­low for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the amount stolen and when it had been taken.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Sergeant Ian Collin said it was be­lieved Dandgey had stole be­tween $500 and $3500 be­tween Oc­to­ber 21 and March 2.

Dandgey was in New Zealand on a work visa and had been hop­ing to leave the coun­try by the end of April.

She was re­manded on bail with con­di­tions that in­cluded not to go to any of the Ferg busi­nesses.


James Charles An­drews, 44, roofer, was fined $1100 for as­sault, dis­or­derly be­hav­iour and re­sist­ing ar­rest on Jan­uary 24.

An­drews hit a man on the back of the head with a jan­dal while he was walk­ing through cen­tral Queen­stown and vi­o­lently strug­gled with po­lice when they went to ar­rest him.

Ja­cob James Forde, 19, was re­manded un­til June 18 for sen­tenc­ing for as­sault and dis­or­derly be­hav­iour likely to cause vi­o­lence on Fe­bru­ary 22.


Sean Tyler Bren­nan, 25, labourer, was re­manded in cus­tody un­til April 13 for sen­tenc­ing at the Thames Dis­trict Court for ob­struct­ing po­lice, driv­ing with sus­tained loss of trac­tion and en­ter­ing the Queen­stown dog pound with the in­tent to com­mit theft be­tween Jan­uary 21 and March 4.


Ja­cob Ste­wart Banks, 19, of Lake Hawea, was fined $450 for pos­ses­sion of cannabis on Fe­bru­ary 15. Banks was found with 24 grams of cannabis when a search of his car was con­ducted af­ter po­lice smelled cannabis.

Jamie Cal Dyce, 29, bar manager, was re­manded for sen­tenc­ing for procur­ing cannabis be­tween July 17 and Au­gust 16.

Un­law­ful use of doc­u­ment

Matthew James Horne, 19, of Ar­row­town, was fined $600 and or­dered to pay repa­ra­tion of $577 for falsely claim­ing his iPhone was stolen and lodg­ing an in­sur­ance claim on June 16.

Horne had sold the phone for $400.

In­ten­tional dam­age

Quinn Ryan Drake, 20, labourer, was fined $400 and or­dered to pay $100 repa­ra­tion for in­ten­tion­ally dam­ag­ing a load­ing bay sign on Fe­bru­ary 15.


Bap­tiste Ray­mond Dubuis, 28, was fined $700 and dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for six months for danger­ous driv­ing near Alexan­dra on Fe­bru­ary 24.

Other driv­ers were forced to take eva­sive ac­tion af­ter Dubuis drove on the in­cor­rect side of the road in an area with dou­ble yel­low lines.


Natasha Marie Tom­lin­son, 24, stu­dent, was fined $1400 and dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for six months for record­ing a blood al­co­hol level of 142mg, limit 50, and re­sist­ing ar­rest on Jan­uary 17.

Tom­lin­son had been a pas­sen­ger in a car which crashed into parked cars near Ar­row­town in the early hours of the morn­ing. She then tried to drive away from the scene of the crash.

When po­lice ar­rived she de­nied driv­ing and tried to run away from po­lice be­fore kick­ing an of­fi­cer at­tempt­ing to ar­rest her.

Kris Neil Stower, 32, labourer, was fined $950 and dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing for seven months for a breath-al­co­hol level of 828mcg, limit 250, on Fe­bru­ary 28.

Craig Richard Baily, 45, of Wanaka, fined $1100 and dis­qual­i­fied from div­ing for nine months for record­ing 724mcg on Fe­bru­ary 25.

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