British tourists Kim Noar and Gregory Day in Queenstown last week. Photo by Mountain Scene.
Two backpackers who caused more than $60,000 damage to six
Queenstown businesses earlier this month have been convicted
of intentional damage.
British tourists Kim Noar (23) and Gregory Day (25) admitted
swinging on a sprinkler system pipe at Nomads hostel on
The pipe broke and hundreds of litres of water flooded
through the Church St backpackers' first-floor common room
and into five other businesses below in the same building.
Noar and Day pleaded guilty in the Queenstown District Court
yesterday and were each ordered to pay $1775 in reparation,
to cover the businesses' insurance excesses.
The pair had initially applied for diversion but, after
discussions with insurance firms, police decided the level of
reparation was too high.
The conviction leaves the pair liable for civil claims by the
However, Day was due to leave the country for Melbourne at
4pm yesterday and Noar for Asia this morning.
''I accept it was not a deliberate action on your part to
damage the pipe,'' Judge Michael Turner said.
''However, you have pleaded guilty on the grounds of
recklessness that when during your festivities you swung on
the pipe, you must have appreciated that damage could have
been caused to the pipe but carried on regardless,'' the
Lawyer Sonia Vidal told the court Noar and Day, who were
working for accommodation at Nomads, had been to each
business and apologised in person.
''They are very remorseful for their actions and had no
appreciation their foolishness would have this impact,'' Ms
Firefighters were called to Nomads shortly after 4am on
February 14, when water flooded through the budget hostel and
down into Cup & Cake, Devil Burger, Below Zero Ice Bar,
Cowboys Bar, and a convenience shop.
Attempts yesterday to contact the owners of businesses
affected by the flooding were unsuccessful.
The building's insurer, QBE, did not respond to questions by
deadline last night.