‘Enraged’ hunting guide fired shot

An "enraged" Hawea man without a firearms licence fired a shot in anger after seeing another group of hunters in the Remarkables.

Isaac Roberto Macdonald-Maynard, 24, was guiding three people on a hunting trip in the Otago mountain range on March 31, 2022, when he saw the other hunting party about 400m away.

A police summary of facts says he recognised two of them as hunters he had guided in the same location the year before.

He became "enraged they had returned to the same spot, and began yelling obscenities and abuse at them" before firing a shot into the ground near him.

At a hearing in the Queenstown District Court last week, the apprentice builder was sentenced on charges of discharging a firearm in a public place and unlawful possession of a firearm following revocation, as well as two charges of suspended driving.

Although suspended because of excess demerit points, the defendant was caught driving twice in the space of a week: the first time while speeding on the Manuka Gorge Highway on February 11 last year, and the second time in Frankton Rd, Queenstown.

On the latter occasion, he told police he was on his way back from the Glenorchy area after helping in the search for a friend who had gone missing while hunting.

Counsel Megan Waller asked Judge Russell Walker to discharge the defendant without conviction on the firearms charges and the second suspended driving charge.

He had fired one shot into the ground to alert the other hunting party he was in the area, and had not intended to frighten or intimidate them.

Convictions would reduce the likelihood of his firearms licence being reinstated, and therefore his ability to return to his previous work as a hunting guide, Ms Waller said.

They would also have consequences for overseas travel, particularly to Canada, Ms Waller said.

Prosecuting Sergeant Ian Collin said Macdonald-Maynard had lost his firearms licence in 2021 because of behaviour that had led to him failing the legal "fit and proper person" test, not because of convictions.

Therefore it was a "flawed argument" to say the reinstatement of his licence relied on avoiding convictions.

Judge Russell Walker said the defendant had seven prior convictions and an extensive demerit history.

"You don’t appear to regard rules as applying to you."

Additional convictions were unlikely to affect his ability to have his firearms licence reinstated, or his ability to travel to Canada.

While hunting without a firearms licence, he had become angry and yelled obscenities at other hunters.

"You fired a shot that could only be intended to frighten or intimidate."

Macdonald-Maynard was convicted on all charges except the second suspended driving charge, for which he received a discharge without conviction.

He was sentenced to 75 hours’ community work, fined $350, court costs of $130 and disqualified from driving for six months.

Guy Williams, PIJF court reporter