Taxi driver himself charged

A former Queenstown taxi driver has been charged with theft and making a false statement to police in relation to an incident in the resort in February.

Gurinder Singh Samra (24), unemployed, appeared in the Manukau District Court yesterday and was remanded on bail to reappear on June 17.

He also faces an unrelated charge of causing loss by deception.

Acting Detective Sergeant Matt Jones, of Queenstown, said the charges of theft and making a false statement related to a report Samra made to police in February, alleging he had been the victim of an assault early on February 5.

At the time, he was employed as a taxi driver by Green Cabs.

Samra told police he had picked up a male passenger in the central business district and had driven him to the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park camping ground about 3.15am.

He alleged he had been attacked and robbed of $700 by the passenger and two other men.

Acting Det Sgt Jones said police wanted to thank the public and media for their assistance in bringing the man to court.

Publicity led to the public contacting police, recognising a caller who allegedly used Samra's cellphone to make a call to the taxi company about an hour after the incident, as one of Samra's relatives.

''This information, together with a number of consistencies in other information gathered and out-of-character behaviour by [Samra], has led police to the conclusion that this is a false complaint.''

The case had tied up ''a considerable amount'' of police time and resources, and given the matter was now before the court, no further comment would be made, Acting Det Sgt Jones said.