Poachers face big reparation bills

“A conscious and brazen act of poaching on private land” led to two poachers receiving a sentence of community work and big reparation bills in the Christchurch District Court.

Tamati John Nelson, 31, and McKenzie Temuera Priest, 24, were on Department of Conservation land at the end of Trig Road in Oxford when they saw a red stag in the paddock on Coal Creek Estate between June and August.

They shot the animal and entered the private property through a hole in a 2m deer fence to take the head and some of the meat.

They then saw a goat with 25cm horns in a neighbouring paddock, and Priest shot it. They took both heads as trophies.

Priest told police that he was “super sorry for being a complete idiot”, and Nelson said he didn’t realise they had walked onto private property.

In the Christchurch District Court, Tony Garrett, defence counsel for Priest, said there was a third offender with them, but he was granted diversion and payment of reparations in Invercargill.

He said Priest was aware they were on private property when they shot the animals, and the group were hunters who took an easy option and would now pay the consequences.

Nelson’s counsel Paul Johnson said Nelson was not the shooter but he was there and assisted in the recovery of the heads.

Judge Paul Kellar said both men had previous convictions, and this offending was easy to commit and difficult to detect.

“It was a conscious and brazen act of poaching on private land, and was a risk to others who were legitimately hunting on that land and would be unaware of your presence,” he said.

He sentenced both men to 100 hours’ community work and reparations of $2430 each.