Home' Greymouth Star : April 12th 2017 Contents SINCE 1866
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Police are appealing for public
help after a woman yesterday
reported losing two diamond rings
of sentimental value in the upper
High Street area of Greymouth.
They were lost in the vicinity of
the block around the High Street
Medical Centre. Police said the
rings had gone missing some time
between March 30 and yesterday.
“They were lost somewhere in that
location,” police said. One of the
rings was a thin gold wedding band
with an inset of three diamonds.
The other was gold-platinum with
a cluster of three diamonds, the
centre diamond being larger. Police
said the rings were particularly
sentimental to the owner and police
were appealing for them to be either
handed in or for information which
might lead to them being located.
A Cobden house which has
previously been a target for burglars
was broken into again yesterday.
The occupant of the Ward Street
property returned home about
8.30pm to find the house had been
entered after a panel in a ranchslider
glass door was dislodged. No one
was at home from 3.30pm. West
Coast police prevention sergeant
Paul Watson said they were still
ascertaining what if anything
was missing, with a forensic
examination this morning. “ The
address has previously been subject
of a burglary so persons have gone
back to the property,” Mr Watson
said. The previous burglary was
some time ago and the property
had been “targeted”. Police had
some suspects in mind. Anyone
who was in Ward Street yesterday
afternoon and might have obser ved
unusual or suspicious behaviour is
urged to contact the Greymouth
police, or anonymously via
Crimestoppers,0800 555 111.
Dogs with a sweet tooth can
finally satisfy their ice-cream
cravings — at the Don Paletto
parlour in Mexico City. O wners
can satisfy their pets’ sweet cravings
at the shop in the Mexican capital,
which offers a variety of frozen cone
and lollipop treats especially made
for the animals. Made of natural
yoghurt and lactobacilli bacteria,
it can help digestion while normal
ice-cream can cause pain and
diarrhoea in dogs, according to shop
owner Mauricio Montoya, who said
the food is also safe for humans.
Flavours inlcude ‘Gentleman’ and
‘Lucky Lucky’ — Reuters
Cloudy periods, occasional showers
The Otira Hotel publican who
admitted hitting a train driver over
missing heritage items was yesterday
acquitted of assault.
Lester Rowntree, 63, represented
himself in a judge-alone trial before
Judge Jane Farish in the Greymouth
Police said Rowntree punched the man
a number of times while the victim, who
was sitting in his caravan on Kiwi Rail
land, tried to deflect the blows.
Rowntree admitted hitting train driver
Stuart Watson but said it was in reaction.
Acquitting Rowntree of assault the
judge noted that the train driver and the
publican “probably both got as good as
they deser ved”.
“ Hopefully this will now clear the
way to get on ... without resorting to
fisticuffs,” Judge Farish said. “I hope this
is now the end — it needs to be.”
Earlier she noted that neighbours
avoiding each other in a village of just 40
people was difficult.
Judge Farish said she was not satisfied
the police had proved that Rowntree
was not acting in self-defence after he
entered Mr Watson’s caravan on the
afternoon of September 27.
Mr Watson said he was sitting when
Rowntree burst in uninvited, grabbed
him by the collar, held him down and
punched him in the side of the head
before accusing him of pilfering fittings
off an abandoned building at Otira.
In evidence to the court, Rowntree said
he was invited into the caravan to “take
a look” after asking the whereabouts of
a missing ‘breather’, an old-fashioned
roof vent missing from the former
refreshment room at the Otira Railway
When the train driver raised his leg
towards his crotch as Rowntree entered,
he reacted fearing he would be kicked in
Judge Farish heard extensive evidence
including Rowntree claiming that
heritage light fittings from the old
refreshment rooms had been taken by
Watson along with a unique type of roof
vent on the building, dating from about
Rowntree accused Mr Watson of
pilfering the old building which had
been “trashed” for years.
Mr Watson said Rowntree came to his
caravan unannounced and that he had
nowhere to go when the publican pinned
him back and punched him several times.
Prosecution evidence included bruising
to Mr Watson’s head and the back of his
hands as a result of trying to cover his
head from blows delivered by Rowntree.
Rowntree had also said he would
get Mr Watson “kicked out of Otira”
and that if he went to the police or his
employer, Kiwi Rail, Rowntree would
come back and give him “a hell of a
hiding,” Mr Watson told the court.
Police evidence included Kiwi Rail
complaining about Rowntree, and as
a result of the assault wanting him
trespassed from their railway properties
The court heard the fittings allegedly
taken were on Kiwi Rail property.
Judge Farish assisted Rowntree,
who at the opening of the hearing
complained but accepted that he had not
been disclosed all prosecution witness
statements after he earlier sacked his
The judge asked Mr Watson why he
had not tried to defend himself physically
against Rowntree when “he was accusing
you of being a thief, a liar”.
Mr Watson said he felt incapable, given
that he was seated and had nowhere to
go in the confines of the caravan.
He also said he did not feel accountable
to Rowntree for railway property
belonging to his employer.
The internet has contributed
to the closure of a Greymouth
business and the end of the video
Video Ezy Greymouth will lend
its last DVD on Thursday, April 20,
followed by a closing down sale on
The arrival of on-line streaming
platforms Netflicks, Neon and
Lightbox, combined with a
noticeable decline in foot traffic,
spelled the end of the hire business,
owner Vicki Anderson said.
It is the last dedicated video hire
shop on the West Coast, following
the closure of Civic Video in
Greymouth about five years ago,
and then the closure of Video Ezy
in Hokitika in 2014 and Westport
early last year.
“There’s been less support from
the town than what I would like,”
Ms Anderson said.
“There’s been a regular customer
base but not enough to be
financially viable, which is really
“I think, too, that younger
people are more technology driven
and while not the main reason,
Lightbox and other avenues have
had an effect. ”
The Video Ezy franchise has been
part of the New Zealand lifestyle
for many years, from VHS video
cassettes to DVD discs, but it has
not been able to keep pace with the
fast moving streamlined technology
of the digital age.
Video Ezy Greymouth was
originally situated in Leonard
Street, opposite Victoria Park, but
was forced to move after suffering
heavily in the big Greymouth
tornado of March 2005. After
moving next door for a time, the
business later relocated to its
present location on the corner of
Chapel and Tainui streets.
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Video Ezy Greymouth owner Vicki Anderson is preparing to shut the doors for good.
Internet killed the video store
Teacher loses name suppression for drugs
A Westport woman who is seeking
to re-register as a teacher was
discharged without conviction when
she appeared on a drugs charge in the
Greymouth District Court yesterday.
However, Nicola Elizabeth Adams
was refused final name suppression.
Adams had her name withheld
from publication until her appearance
yesterday, when police objected to
final name suppression. She pleaded
guilty to possession of cannabis.
Lawyer George Linder said it was
the first time Adams had been before
He agreed police had found “quite
a large amount ” of cannabis at her
“There was 78g of dried cannabis
found and there has been no
suggestion it was for anything but her
own use because of issues she had at
the time,” Mr Linder said.
He said a conviction would be
detrimental to her chances of
continuing as a teacher. “She had
some health issues at the time.”
Judge Jane Farish said there needed
to be extra hardship demonstrated to
get final name suppression.
“Publication of her name will
impact on her but not at a level that
I can grant name suppression,” Judge
Mr Linder argued that it would
affect Adams, especially if her students
realised she had been convicted of a
Judge Farish said Adams might
be able to use the experience in a
teaching capacity and turn it into a
“ What is relevant is whether I
convict her or not, and there needs to
be undue hardship for me to do this.”
The judge said she accepted there
would be serious consequences if
Adams was convicted .
“I am satisfied the consequences
outweigh your culpability — a
conviction may well tip the scales and
be an extra hardship.”
Extra police — but Coast waits four years
A national increase in police staff
numbers is not expected to be seen on
the West Coast for at least four years.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush
today announced the numbers each
police district, including Tasman, will
get from the $388 million investment
promised by the Government in
Tasman rural police staff numbers
will increase by 24 in 2020-21.Tasman
district encompasses the West Coast,
Nelson and Marlborough.
Nationwide, police will gradually
bring in 880 extra sworn staff and 245
non-sworn staff over four years.
Today ’s announcement includes
new 24/7 policing areas — something
former West Coast commander
John Canning tried to introduce at
Hokitika but was resisted by staff.
National Party list MP Maureen
Pugh said an extra 24 new police
staff was welcome news for the West
Coast and Tasman.
“I am thrilled to see 24 allocated to
the wider Tasman police district over
the next four years,” Mrs Pugh said.
It would be up to the Tasman
district commander to work through
which towns received additional staff.
It also meant 95% of New
Zealanders would live within 25km
of a 24/7 patrolling police officer and
a new 24/7 non-emergency police
number, as well as resources targeted
at disrupting and dismantling
organised crime, she said.
Publican Lester Rowntree outside his heritage Otira Stagecoach Hotel.
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