Resort charity worker’s betrayal

A Queenstown non-profit ripped off by an employee fears its reputation has suffered lasting damage.

The organisation’s name was permanently suppressed by Judge Catriona Doyle in Queenstown’s court this week.

Doyle refused an application by the defendant to keep her identity secret, but Mountain Scene has chosen not to name her.

The court heard how the employee, between January 30 and July 1 last year, took the organisation’s credit card without authorisation and used it to buy gift cards at supermarkets and other stores in the resort on 31 occasions.

She then spent the gift cards, worth nearly $5000.

Eight months after joining the organisation, her thieving was detected and she was arrested on six charges of dishonestly using a credit card.

Defence counsel Annaliese Carlaw said the defendant had been "financially desperate" and living in an abusive relationship.

A victim impact statement written by the organisation’s chief executive said it had suffered significant damage "financially, emotionally and reputationally".

Many of its staff were friends of the defendant, and felt betrayed by what she’d done.

Doyle said the non-profit got some of its funding from the government, and remained concerned the offending would bring the "entire organisation into disrepute".

The offending was premeditated, prolonged, and involved a serious breach of trust.

She acknowledged the defendant had been living in an abusive relationship at the time, but didn’t accept a "causal connection" between that and the offending because her criminal history showed a pattern of behaviour over many years.

She had three prior convictions for theft in a special relationship, two for attempting to pervert the course of justice, and convictions for theft and breaching community work.

Doyle converted a seven-month prison sentence into one of home detention, noting the law required her to impose the "least restrictive outcome" appropriate in the circumstances.

The woman has also been ordered to pay back her former employer $4928.50.

Crashing drunk

A recidivist driving offender got smashed before he crashed a car he shouldn’t have been driving in March.

Queenstown chef Kaleb Blair Prasad Lloyd, 33, was disqualified at the time, having been done for drink-driving in Auckland in January.

But on March 20, Lloyd and a workmate spent several hours drinking in CBD bars and then carried on at his Frankton flat.

About 4.30am he went to his absent flatmate’s bedroom and took the keys to a car owned by his flatmate’s friend.

Behind the wheel, he drove at high speed — with his workmate riding shotgun — for about 500m to Wakatipu Heights, where he lost control on a bend, crashing into two wooden bollards and a fence. The car, worth about $40,000, was significantly damaged.

Lloyd walked home and was later found by cops passed out in bed.

He admitted charges of unlawfully taking a vehicle, aggravated disqualified driving and careless driving.

At his sentencing, counsel Tanya Surrey said Lloyd hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol since the incident.

Doyle said he was nearly five times the legal limit when he was caught in January and had five previous convictions for disqualified driving.

She sentenced him to 100 hours’ community work, and ordered him to pay $500 emotional harm reparation to the first victim, and $500 reparation, to cover the car’s insurance excess, to the second.

He’s also been banned from driving for 12 months and must undergo nine months’ supervision to address his alcohol issues.

Other convictions

 • Daniel Roy Uncles, 54, of Hanley’s Farm, cultivating cannabis, May 24, Queenstown, sentence deferred 12 months.

 • Abel Murchie, 31, landscaper, of Wānaka, aggravated drink-driving (543mcg), Rob Roy Lane, April 15, 200 hours’ community work, disqualified 18 months, 12 months’ supervision.

 • Gaspard Gariel Claude Rene Thoraval, 23, French national, theft (items valued at $218.59 from New World Wānaka), May 6-June 2; theft (items valued at $56.68 from New World Three Parks), May 5-26, reparation $275.27, emotional harm reparation $280.

 • David Aled Wyn Pugh, 44, of Wānaka, failing to stop for police, drink-driving (939mcg), Ballantyne Rd, June 8, fined $1000, disqualified 28 days, alcohol interlock provisions.

 • Joseph Warren Linn, 39, builder, of Wānaka, aggravated drink-driving (705mcg), Wānaka-Luggate Hwy, May 17, fined $750, disqualified 18 months.