Queenstown parking rage costs man $4000

A parking ticket issued to an Invercargill man in Queenstown cost him $4000 and $50 hours' community work after he admitted intentionally damaging the ticketing device, property of Lakes Environmental Ltd, and threatening behaviour.

In the Queenstown District Court yesterday, Judge Lawrence Ryan heard Leigh Topping (28), a retailer, was walking along Marine Parade at 2.10pm on October 3 when he encountered the victim, a parking warden employed by Lakes Environmental.

The two were known to each other.

Topping confronted the parking warden, became verbally abusive and "threatened to punch him", prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said.

The parking warden used his electronic ticketing machine, valued at $4000, to take a picture of Topping, intending to report the incident to police.

"The defendant ... reached out and grabbed the machine and threw it into Lake Wakatipu," Sgt Collin said.

"It was thrown some distance in [and was] later retrieved by a commercial diver.

"It was not able to be repaired."

On November 14, Topping presented himself at the Queenstown Police Station and told officers he had confronted the parking warden because he had previously received a parking ticket from him "and he wanted to discuss it".

While he denied threatening to punch the man, he did admit being verbally abusive.

Reparation of $4311.35 was sought - $4000 for the ticketing device and the remainder to cover the cost of the diver who retrieved it from the lake.

Defence counsel Phena Byrne said Topping had taken issue with a previous parking ticket issued by that warden, but accepted the way he dealt with the matter was "wholly inappropriate".

"When he became aware police were seeking him, he presented himself at the Queenstown Police Station."

Judge Ryan ordered Topping to pay $4000 reparation to Lakes Environmental, at $50 a week, but refused to order reparation to cover the diver.

On each charge, he was ordered to complete 50 hours' community work, to be served concurrently.

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