Banned patron damaged casino vehicles

CasinoDrunk and resentful at being banned from Christchurch Casino, a 52-year-old man caused $20,000 damage to the tyres and paintwork on vehicles belonging to the casino and its staff.

While the owners were examining the damage in the carpark, Graeme Noel Cook was shouting at them from his balcony nearby that it “serves you right”.

He only accepted that he was responsible for the damage when he was shown the security camera footage of him carrying out the four wilful damage offences.

He pleaded guilty and was facing a possible jail term at his sentencing in the Christchurch District Court yesterday, according to Judge Christopher Somerville.

The judge described the offending as “premeditated, deliberate, nasty, and vindictive”, but decided that he could grant a home detention term.

He decided that Cook would be “locked up at home” for four months but warned him that it better not happen again, given his criminal record.

“You have got a serious drinking problem, and you have had it for years,” Judge Somerville told him.

He also decided that Cook, an unemployment beneficiary, had no chance of paying for the full amount of reparation for the damage he inflicted with a knife.

He was ordered to pay $3560 – a proportion of the amount owed to the casino and two staff members, but the full amount for one staff member who had no insurance.

The judge noted that Cook had six convictions for drink-driving.

He had convictions for arson, and he had lost his job for turning up drunk.

The judge said he could not impose a community work sentence because he knew Cook could not do it.

Defence counsel David Stringer urged that a prison term not be imposed because it would do Cook no good, and would leave him feeling more resentful about the casino and the system.


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