Dunedin stalker named

Jeremy Buis. Photo ODT
Jeremy Buis. Photo ODT
The public servant who spent two and a-half years stalking a Dunedin businessman can now be named.

Jeremy Buis (39), of Dunedin, was yesterday found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to do grievous bodily harm and intentional damage, following a judge-alone trial last month.

Buis has had name suppression since the charges were laid some two years ago but today defence counsel Anne Stevens said there was no application to have that extended.

While Judge Paul Kellar let the suppression order lapse, he continued the suppression of the defendant's occupation at Mrs Stevens' request.

She said it would unfairly cast aspersions on others doing the same job as her client.

The businessman can also be named as Danny Pryde, owner of Pryde Engineering.

Today, before the Dunedin District Court, the judge sentenced Buis to 200 hours' community work and ordered to pay Mr Pryde $15,000.

Danny Pryde
Danny Pryde

Outside court Mr Pryde said he was disappointed Buis' occupation was suppressed and that the judge had declined an application to photograph him in court.

He described the $15,000 reparation awarded as "dirty money" and said he was tempted to give it away to charity.

"He tried to destroy my business and my marriage. [Money] doesn't fix those things," Mr Pryde said.

Judge Kellar said he was at a loss to understand why the harassment happened.

“It was so unnecessary,” he said.

The judge said the lengths Buis went to in a bid to destroy his victim were surprising.

“I've been staggered at the extent of the planning and degree of sophistication in it,” he said.

The campaign of stalking was instigated by an incident on June 14, 2012, when Buis parked his car blocking the rear driveway to Mr Pryde's business.

The company owner called the council who promptly ticketed the vehicle, which led to a confrontation between the men.

“He deliberately parked across the entrance way to [the business] the next day to make a point,” Judge Kellar said.

Though that was the last time Mr Pryde saw him, Buis spent the next 30 months targeting the man.

It began with anonymous text messages but progressed to the defendant writing Mr Pryde's contact details at a gay hang-out.

Buis also set up a fake homosexual internet-dating profile using Mr Pryde's photo from his business website and urged gay men to get in touch with Mr Pryde.

On December 2, 2014, the harassment reached its peak when the defendant’s messages took a “menacing” turn.

He told Mr Pryde to “get your affairs in order” and advised him to “buy something bullet-proof”.

Mr Pryde's victim impact statement was read in court today and outlined the trauma, describing it as “a living hell”.

Buis began his profession in 2006 and the ODT understands he has been on paid leave since the charges were laid.

He will likely be dismissed since convictions were entered.

Buis has his own business fixing and shaping surfboards and was the subject of a story in January 2014 - in the midst of the stalking.

He said at the time, he had been customising surfboards for 20 years and liked doing some “outside the square stuff”.

The court heard Buis would likely complete his community work at Age Concern.

“He would sit with them, do chores and whatever is required. Hopefully that would meet with community probations approval,” Mrs Stevens said.