A Queenstown policewoman did not deliberately lie under
oath, Judge Tony Couch said yesterday.
In finding Jeanette May McNee (44) guilty of offensive
language, Judge Couch said it appeared to be a case where
McNee ''has come to believe to be true what she wants to be
''This is not an uncommon phenomenon.''
Eleven witnesses were called during the judge-alone trial in
the Queenstown District Court, five of them passengers in a
taxi Ganesh Paramanathan was driving on November 3.
McNee denied telling Mr Paramanathan at Rere Rd, Lake Hayes
Estate to ''F ... off to India. You come here and get all of
the Kiwi jobs; eat your f... curry and f .. off to India.
This is a Kiwi job''.
Mr Paramanathan is from Malaysia.
McNee was initially investigated for an alleged assault
before the offensive language charge was laid in March.
During the evening of November 2, she consumed a glass of
wine, two Ibuprofen painkillers and two Tramadol painkillers
to ease pain following an unsuccessful hip operation.
At a function in Queenstown between 8pm and 11.30pm she
consumed up to four glasses of wine and another Tramadol,
went to another bar and had one more wine.
About 2.30am, Mr Paramanathan picked up the group of six,
including McNee, and put them on a ''local's rate''. The
group requested three drop-offs - the first at Quail Rise and
two at Lake Hayes Estate.
Judge Couch said McNee began to complain before the first
stop and was ''increasingly loud and vociferous after that''.
She continued to dispute the cost of the taxi when he made
the final stop at Rere Rd, wrongly believing it totalled $80.
''A rational person would have looked at the meter, directly
in view ... less than 1m from where the defendant was
standing at the door. The defendant did not do that.
''Acting in what I can only characterise in a clearly
irrational way, [she] insisted no more money would be paid.''
Judge Couch found she attempted three times to grab money
from her husband's hand to prevent him paying the final $20
of the $60 owed.
Video evidence showed McNee pointing her finger at the driver
and him pointing back - Judge Couch found that was a reaction
to McNee's verbal abuse.
''She [then] responded by grabbing his wrist and twisting his
Once the McNees left the taxi, the driver got out and walked
around the front.
''If the words had not been said, Mr Paramanathan would have
had no reason to get out of the taxi ... by that time he had
been paid in full.
''He was remonstrating with the defendant for what she had
said or done in the taxi.''
Witnesses spoke of her good character, supported by her
employment record with the police.
Two phone calls by McNee to Queenstown Taxis, at 3pm and 9pm,
trying to speak to Mr Paramanathan to apologise indicated
''the effects of the cocktail of pills and alcohol had worn
''The irresistible inference is that the reason for the
defendant behaving uncharacteristically was the combination
of medication and alcohol she had consumed. By 3pm I infer
... the defendant had realised she had behaved
McNee's denials implied Mr Paramanathan had ''made up this
part of his evidence and lied under oath in giving it. I find
no support for that proposition,'' Judge Couch said.
''He had nothing to gain by inventing a story of racial abuse
and no other reason to do so.''
McNee was remanded at large for defence counsel Nic Soper to
make submissions for a discharge without conviction. No date
for that hearing was set.