Teen sentenced over racist rant at Puzzling World

A teenager who launched a racist rant against an Indian man and drunken attack on an Australian tourist at a family fun park in Wanaka has been sentenced to eight months' home detention.

Taylor William Meikle (18) appeared before the Dunedin District Court this afternoon after admitting a charge of injuring with intent to injure in relation to the January 20 incident at Puzzling World.

He was also convicted of assaulting the man's partner and threatening language after a racist rant at an Indian man and his five-year-old daughter.

A group of five, three of whom were charged by police, had driven to Central Otago to attend a car show and stopped at the establishment's car park by the Luggate Highway.

“The defendants were in an intoxicated state, witnesses have indicated the group were actively looking for trouble,” police said.

Meikle, holding a beer bottle, confronted the Indian man and his girl “shouting a barrage of racial abuse”.

According to charge sheets he said: “you should go back to your own f***ing country” and “it's my country and not yours”.

“I don't know if you were acting the big man to the girls in your car or if you are just racist,” Judge Kevin Phillips said.

A bystander was so outraged, they apologised on the defendant's behalf and told the victim not all kiwis were like that.

While this was going on, the Australian tourist, standing Puzzling World's foyer, came out and saw the defendants' ute reverse into a parked vehicle.

He went to check the damage and three of the men piled out of the ute.

As the tourist backed off, one of them threw a beer bottle at him, which he ducked.

But the victim could not avoid the punches and kicks that followed.

He curled up on the ground with his arms covering his head while his wife and children watched in horror.

As the assault progressed, she tried to intervene but Meikle pulled her away, saying: “I'm a boxer, he's doing alright”.

Another of the aggressors told the woman they were not afraid to hit her.

A bystander managed to drag the victim to his feet when there was a lull in the violence but the respite was brief.

One of the defendant's ran up to the man from behind and wrestled him to the ground again, putting him in a headlock.

The victim's wife was dragged back from the fray by Meikle for the second time.

A girlfriend of one of the defendant's told her partner to get in the ute or their relationship was over, and the group drove off.

The Australian man was left with bruising to his chest and upper body, grazing to his elbows and knees and a sore neck.

“You acted appallingly in a tourist centre against a tourist – the lifeblood of this country's economy,” Judge Phillips said.

Meikle minimised his racist comments in a pre-sentence interview with Probation, he said.

As well as home detention he was also sentenced to 200 hours' community work and ordered to pay the Australian man $350.

Sheridan Christopher Raynor Foot (18) was also due to be sentenced yesterday but was remanded until next month to find a potential home-detention address. A third defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charge against him and will appear in court in July.