Shotgun aimed at pair after drug debt dispute

A man brandished a shotgun and aimed it at people who owed drug money while driving through South Dunedin, a court has head.

Nathan Richard Nelson (40) appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to unlawfully possessing a firearm, presenting it at a person and driving while suspended.

Judge Michael Turner sentenced him to five months' home detention over the drive-by incident on October 21.

Nelson was driving an associate's Audi in Bradshaw St when he saw two women sitting in a parked vehicle.

He stopped and yelled at them.

"A verbal argument developed where he began to abuse one of the victims over an outstanding drug debt of $200," court documents said.

The back and forth continued for five minutes until the victims drove off.

The vehicles ended up approaching from opposite directions in Helena St.

When Nelson was a car length from the women, he pointed a Smith and Wesson shotgun out of his window.

The passenger, fearing she would be shot, "ducked her head down to make herself smaller, to avoid injury", police said.

Officers went to Nelson's home later that day and found the single-barrelled weapon under the defendant's bed.

He told them he had seen the victims that day but denied pointing the shotgun at them.

However, that story later changed when the case came before the court.

Defence counsel Alex Bligh said her client had been offence-free between 2006 and 2015 after becoming a father and giving up the gang lifestyle.

So what had gone wrong? Judge Turner asked.

Ms Bligh accepted her client had briefly reverted to his old ways but was now committed to "being on the straight and narrow".

Nelson's partner, the court heard, had rented a property specifically for him to serve an electronically monitored sentence.

Judge Turner also banned the defendant from driving for six months.


Time to acknowledge criminal drug problem: murders X 4, in 6 months, and menaces.