Home' Greymouth Star : November 6th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, November 6, 2015 - 3
Man avoids jail ‘by skin of teeth’
A man who asked for his community
work sentence to be cancelled in
favour of prison or a community-
based sentence on Tuesday avoided
jail “by the skin of your teeth”.
Patrick Collins Ryan was instead
sentenced in the Greymouth District
Court to two months’ home detention.
On July 2 last year Ryan was
sentenced to 335 hours of community
work for wilful damage. Ryan was due
to start his sentence of community
work on July 12, but he repeatedly
breached his sentence and had so far
completed only 62.25 hours.
Defence lawyer Richard Bodle
asked Judge Paul Kellar to accept
the recommended sentence of home
detention. He said Ryan admitted he
had let “employment get in the way
of his commitment to Community
“He felt quite over whelmed by a
commitment he bought into and
Judge Kellar said Ryan had a
“significant history of offending”,
for assaults, driving offences and
dishonesty, and had four prior
sentences, which was a concern.
Community Probation said it was
fair to say that Ryan had an “abysmal
history of reporting”.
Judge Kellar said he took a “very
dim view of people who don’t do their
“People with fewer convictions for
breaching their sentence are sent
to prison. We will give you one last
chance . . . by the skin of your teeth
I will impose a sentence of home
The sentence of community work
was also cancelled.
A Cobden man who allegedly had
a “reasonably sophisticated” cannabis
growing operation in his spare bedroom
has been denied bail.
Robin Irwin, 42, appeared in the
Westport District Court on Wednesday
charged with cultivating cannabis,
possessing cannabis, possessing cannabis
seed, possessing a firearm, possessing
ammunition and breaching a protection
He was not required to enter a plea.
According to the summary facts, police
went to Irwin’s house on Tuesday to
make a routine inquiry. While there
they noticed a strong smell of cannabis
coming from the house.
When they searched the house, they
found 76 cannabis plants growing in
the spare bedroom. The plants were
at different stages of growth — 27
were around 50cm tall, heavily budded
and ready for har vest, while 48 were
Police also found cannabis leaf and
seeds in various places around the house.
A disassembled shotgun was found in a
brown paper bag in the kitchen, along
with some live ammunition.
Police prosecutor sergeant Michelle
Payne said police opposed Irwin’s bail
application because of his history of
breaching bail conditions, and the sheer
amount of cannabis found.
However, it had not been suggested the
operation was commercial, she said.
Defending, George Linder said Irwin
grew the cannabis only for personal pain
relief. He had a number of injuries and
ongoing health concerns and had an
immense fear of opiates, which he had
in the past been prescribed, Mr Linder
Irwin feared he would be put back on
opiates for pain relief if he was remanded
It had been many years since Irwin
breached bail conditions, with the last
breach occurring in 1997, Mr Linder
Irwin kept the alleged firearm, not in
relation to the alleged cannabis growing
operation, but for pig hunting, Mr
Linder said. Pig hunting was a hobby
and helped with his injury rehabilitation.
Irwin was not a flight risk or risk to the
community. He was willing to comply
with all bail conditions, although he
may have trouble meeting reporting
conditions due to his lack of transport,
Mr Linder said.
“He has no desire to go back to prison.”
Judge Paul Keller described Irwin as
having allegedly set up a “reasonably
including heat lamps, dehumidifiers and
other gear commonly used to grow the
plant. He reminded Irwin of his criminal
history, which included a conviction for
cannabis possession in March 2004,
and a conviction and prison sentence
for contravening a protection order and
possessing a firearm around the same
The judge declined Irwin’s bail
application, and remanded him in
custody to appear in the Greymouth
District Court on November 24. He
allowed for arrangement to be made for
Irwin to seek medical advice regarding
his pain relief. — Westport News
John Paul II High School students Fergus Wallace, left, Annaleise Fletcher and Angus Wallace, will have their dedication as St John cadets
recognised on November 29 when they receive the Grand Prior Award, at a ceremony in Christchurch. The award is the highest that can be
bestowed upon cadets, and follows the completion of six compulsory badges — caregivers, communication, community awareness, drill, first-aid
and St John — and six non-compulsory badges, from a total of 27 subjects, plus 100 hours of community ser vice.
St John honours for cadets
PICTURE: Eilish Ramsden
Two adult students from Asia have
gone back to school in Greymouth
to improve their English so they can
go on to training at the Tai Poutini
Sor Vay, from Cambodia, and Emma
Wang, originally from Beijing, have
enrolled part-time at John Paul II
High School, becoming the first
adult English language learners at the
Ms Vay had been learning art at the
school, and was working on an NCEA
level 2 course, but her English had
“not been strong enough, so I needed
to come and learn to read and write
She has been studying for five or six
months, and has already noticed an
“ When I first came to New Zealand,
reading and writing was very hard for
me, and I started to understand people
talking, I didn’t know how to spell,
that was my big problem. Now for
me it ’s much better — I even impress
Teacher Celia Costelloe said that
Ms Vay “in particular hopes to achieve
English to a level allowing her to
start a course at Tai Poutini
Polytechnic in the near future”.
Fellow student Ms Wang began
taking lessons after hearing friends
of Ms Vay talking about it.
“ I wanted to learn English for a
specific use at the polytechnic, but I
was worried that my English, the
level was not good enough for me to
go to the nursing course, because I
was a nurse in China. I would be a
nurse in New Zealand, that is my
She had enjoyed learning general
English, as well as “ building up my
“ Now I am more confident than
before when reading a newspaper,
and recently I went to Reefton and
read a sign about its history. It’s more
c lear, though there is still more for
me to understand. ”
Ms Costelloe said that the
English taught was “specifically
targeted” to the needs of the two
“The focus for Emma is on
academic language vocabulary,
pronunciation and structure.
“Sor is working on reading and
writing, building sentences, general
vocabulary and speaking skills. ”
They attend classes for at least five
hours a week.
English skills sharpened
PICTURE: Eilish Ramsden
Adult students Sor Vay, left, from Cambodia, and Emma Wang, from China,
have both been improving their understanding of written and spoken English
at John Paul II High School.
John Paul II High School has chosen its head students for the 2016 school
year — deputy head boy Paddy Davison, left, head boy Ben Whitmore, head
girl Tammy Aihi, and deputy head girl Hazel Whitcombe. Ben said the key to
the new team would be how they worked together. “ We work well as a team —
it ’s not just two people doing the job, it ’s four.”
John Paul II head students
PICTURE: Ben Aulakh
A Reefton man hopes to get off
the ground with his idea of creating
a hotel and restaurant on the hill
above the township, accessed by a
Gareth Thomas came up with
the idea after Buller Mayor Garry
Howard canvassed for ideas on how
to boost the local economy.
Garry did not
acknowledge my suggestion and I
have been independently pursuing
it since then, along with a range of
other ideas for a ‘gravity park’, with
a hotel and restaurant on top of the
terrace overlooking Reefton,” Mr
Thomas, a former manager at the
Oceana Gold Globe Progress Mine,
He has distributed a Powerpoint
presentation on the idea to
Development West Coast, the
region’s mayors and others.
He had been given an “indicative
costing” of $5 million, plus extras,
for a single cablecar from Austrian
chairlift and cablecar specialist
Doppelmayr, and was now “working
towards finding ways to fund such a
In conjunction with the proposed
cablecar, Mr Thomas said he had
consulted with fellow Reefton man
Paul Thomas, about developing a
mountainbike track, which would
run 6km from the top of the
proposed gondola station to the
Globe Progress goldmine site.
“Much of this track already exists,
and a local expert has advised
me that it would not take a lot of
work to complete cutting a track
Talks had been held with the
Department of Conservation about
developing the Globe Progress site
into a mountainbiking park, and
Gareth Thomas said a gondola would
provide easier access direct from
Reefton and avoid State highway 7.
He said the gondola concept was
“not contingent ” on the future of the
Globe Progress Mine, which was
currently in the process of being put
into care and maintenance.
However, he believed his proposal
would be a major drawcard for
tourism in Reefton, “allowing visitors
to soar above the campground,
the Inangahua River, and the old
hydroelectric powerhouse to a point
where fantastic views can be had of
Reefton and its surrounds”.
A Reefton man who verbally abused a
staff member at the Reefton Hotel has
been fined and ordered to pay his victim
emotional harm reparation.
At the Westport District Court last
week, Phillip Edward Cross, 42, admitted
one charge of threatening behaviour.
According to the summary of facts,
Cross was drinking at the hotel about
10pm on August 28 when he became
verbally aggressive. He was cut off by
a staff member, which made him even
Cross became so mad, he walked
around the bar, yelling at the other
patrons and asking if they had a problem
with him. He then picked up an empty
RTD bottle, while continuing to hurl
abuse at the staff member.
In his explanation to police at the time,
Cross said he could not recall picking up
the bottle, but did remember being cut
off. He acknowledged his behaviour was
inappropriate. He had since returned to
the hotel to apologise.
Defending, Tim Spear said Cross had
been under pressure recently, and his
behaviour was out of character. Cross
had a limited and somewhat historic
Judge Noel Walsh said the hotel
employee’s victim impact statement
made for horrifying reading. He
reminded Cross that this was his fourth
violence-related conviction in the past
18 years. He convicted Cross, fined him
$300 plus court costs and ordered him
to make a $500 emotional harm
reparation payment to the victim.
— Westport News
A Greymouth teenager charged with
two drugs offences was unable to defend
the charges in the Greymouth District
Court this week after he was beaten up
over the weekend.
Isaac Reece Stollery, 19, was charged
with possession of cannabis and a
cannabis bong on April 19.
A defended hearing was set down for
However, lawyer Richard Bodle told
the court he had been texted by the
defendant ’s mother, and after following
that up he had discovered that Stollery
was in hospital as a result of a weekend
beating and might need his jaw wired.
Mr Bodle asked Judge Paul Kellar if
he wanted evidence that Stollery was
indeed in hospital, something the judge
joked was not required.
“Sometimes I wouldn’t believe some of
the things that I hear that people make
up, this time perhaps not,” Judge Kellar
‘Lucky’ driver loses licence for drink-driving, texting
A Reefton man who rolled his car
after checking a text message while
drink-driving has lost his licence for
Colt Darryl Evans, 19, pleaded
guilty to drink-driving and careless
driving, in the Westport District
Court last week.
Police prosecutor sergeant Wayne
Corbett said Evans was driving
around a bend on State highway 7 in
the Mai Mai valley about 11.30pm
on September 24 when he lost
control on a corner. The car then
rolled on to its roof, he said.
In a subsequent breath test, Evans
blew 463mg. The legal limit for
drivers under 20 is zero.
At the time, Evans confirmed he
had been drinking, and was checking
a text message while driving around
the bend, Mr Corbett said.
Judge Noel Walsh told Evans he
was a lucky young man.
“ You made what could have been a
He convicted Evans on both
charges, disqualified him from
driving for three months and ordered
him to pay a total of $600 in fines.
— Westport News
Reefton man investigates cablecar, hotel and restaurant
An upgrade of a hillside walkway
Greymouth, Dobson and the
Paparoa Range should be under way
by the end of the year.
The Grey District Council has
called for expressions of interest to
upgrade the Kings Walk from the
start on Mount Street to the viewing
areas at the top.
The track is currently rundown
and overgrown, with the surface and
stepped parts of the walk washed
out in places.
District assets manager Mel
Sutherland said the council had
contractors for the resurfacing work
and was now moving to tenders.
The wet ground conditions on the
track, made worse by spring weather
and the challenging terrain, would
help determine the timeframe.
“ You’d probably appreciate, a
reasonably tricky job. We have tried
to do the work in the past. Really,
it’s proven quite a tricky job ... so
we’re looking for capable and fit
contractors ” Mr Sutherland said.
The council budgeted $25,518 last
year to do the work, with much of
that carried forward to the 2015
The possibility of using a helicopter
to fly in materials could be an option.
The council had periodically
maintained the track since it was
established as a walkway many
decades ago, Mr Sutherland said.
The top of the Kings Walk links
the precipitous Peter Ridge Track,
which traverses the ridge above
This in turn is linked to the access
way for the power line down to the
Electronet substation on Nikau
Valley Road, at the head of Puketahi
Historically, the Peter Ridge Track
was looked after by the Greymouth
Harriers however it has largely fallen
into disuse by 2011.
The West Coast Alpine Club has
done some work more recently to
re-mark the route.
A Dobson man had a charge of
failing to provide a blood specimen
withdrawn by police, after the judge
agreed there was a possibility that
a hospital doctor might have told
him he did not need to provide
However, Hemi Raroa, 24, was
found guilty of careless driving,
after he crashed his car at Kaiata on
April 12, and was fined $500 after
being convicted of the offence.
Raroa told the Greymouth
District Court yesterday that a
Christchurch doctor, Christopher
Hill, who had been working at
Grey Base Hospital where Raroa
had been taken to after the crash,
had told him that he did not have to
provide a blood specimen because
he had suffered a head injury.
In his evidence, Dr Hill said he
had told Raroa, that he “couldn’t
force him to have a blood test taken
I can’t force the blood test, it ’s
up to him”.
Caseyarna Stark, told police that
Raroa had asked the doctor if he
had to give a blood specimen.
“ He said ‘no, you don’t have to’,
then he (Raroa) said ‘then I won’t ’.
He didn’t know he would be
charged with not giving blood, then
he would have given them,” Stark
Judge Paul Kellar said that he was
“sure the doctor made the request
for blood,” and he was also sure that
the doctor did inform Raroa that
he could not force him to provide a
specimen of blood.
However, it was “conceivable,
a reasonable possibility that the
defendant perceived that he had a
choice, to have blood taken or not ”.
Therefore, the charge was
Drug accused suffers beating
Careless driving conviction
Kings Walk to be upgraded soon
Links Archive November 5th 2015 November 7th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page