A West Coast man who sparked a search and rescue by diving
into a swiftly flowing river to evade arrest has been ordered
to pay $1400 towards the cost of the search.
Andrew James Brooks, 34, of Cobden, appeared for sentencing
yesterday in Greymouth District Court.
"You are not a child but you clearly acted like one on this
night," Judge Stephen O'Driscoll said.
"This is the sort of thing I would expect from a 17-year-old,
not a 34-year-old."
Brooks was charged with assault and escaping from police
following the incident in the early hours of New Year's Day.
He and two women had misbehaved in the Railway Hotel and were
being escorted out by the female bar manager, when Brooks
struck the woman once in the face with an open palm.
Police caught up with Brooks at the nearby railway station,
but he then fled to the Grey River floodwall and was hiding
among rocks by the water's edge when he was again spied by
Warned to come up or a police dog would be sent down to get
him, Brooks yelled: "Throw the f...g dog at me". He repeated
that several times, along with the taunt, "Come and f...g get
me, it's a nice night for a swim", before jumping in the
He then floated on his back and started kicking toward the
opposite bank. About 15m from the rocks on the other side,
Brooks' bravado deserted him as he started going under the
water and yelling for help, eventually disappearing from
The Coastguard's inflatable boat and the NZCC West Coast
Rescue helicopter subsequently swept the river looking for
him for over 40 minutes. After an unsuccessful search his
family was told that he was missing in the river, but Brooks
was later located hiding on Cobden Island.
Brooks showed no remorse for the searchers or his family, who
had been told that he had drowned, saying: "Oh well, they'll
get over it."
In explanation Brooks told police he had taken acid that
night and thought he was Superman.
Judge O'Driscoll sentenced Brooks to 200 hours' community
work and ordered him to pay the $1400 compensation to the
rescue helicopter at $50 a week.
The judge said that he regretted the fact Brooks could not be
charged with putting emergency services personnel at risk.
"Your actions were nothing short of gross stupidity, you
clearly put others at risk.
"Your comments afterwards showed little remorse or concern
about the impact your actions had on police, other emergency
services or even your family."
- Greymouth Star