Honoured citizen pulled rifle on boy racers

Stuart Blair Clark pulled a rifle on two youths doing burnouts in a car park. Photo: Supplied
Stuart Blair Clark pulled a rifle on two youths doing burnouts in a car park. Photo: Supplied
A man once honoured for his contributions to his community has landed himself in court after he pulled a rifle on two young people doing burnouts, and then tried to justify his actions.

On Monday, Stuart Blair Clark, 71, appeared for sentencing in the Whangārei District Court before Judge Greg Davis for one charge of presenting a firearm following an incident in 2022.

Clark has been a long-time advocate for the Hikurangi community and is known for his contributions to the Waro Lake scenic reserve.

In 2016, he received a Whangārei Civic Honours Award for his services to the lake, which included the development and clearing of graffiti, vegetation, and rubbish from the reserve.

However, in November 2022, Clark’s devotion went one step too far when he heard a car doing burnouts in the lake car park.

At the sentencing, Judge Davis recalled an interaction he had with Clark at an earlier hearing.

He said Clark had pointed to the behaviour of the young men in an attempt to justify his actions.

“When you first came in front of me, I was pretty cranky. You pointed a gun at someone so don’t come in here and cry at me about there being burnouts,” Judge Davis told Clark.

“If we changed the narrative around and if it was a brown person, you would be screaming from the high hills.”

The judge said the situation could have gone tragically wrong for both parties and asked Clark what he had learnt since being before the courts.

“I’ve learnt to take responsibility for what happened and I very much regret taking the rifle off the property and opening up to the disaster that happened later,” Clark responded.

“I went to the lake to take the rego number and that ended up with me threatening two young men with a rifle.”

Clark has no previous history and Judge Davis believed that warranted a discharge without conviction.

“I accept you were driven to your wits' end in the context of burnouts but there have got to be other ways,” the judge said.

“I also accept 71 years of good behaviour shouldn’t be thrown away by one moment of stupidity.”

An application for Clark to be discharged without conviction was granted.

 - By Shannon Pitman

 - Open Justice multimedia journalist, Whangārei