Shots fired in retribution for bar ejection

Last updated 09:44 01/12/2012

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An ejected bar patron got a loaded .303 rifle and went "hunting" after a dispute at a controversial late-night Kapiti bar.

James David Crosbie, 30, had been bent on retribution and set off hunting for one of the men who helped force his friend from the bar, Judge Denys Barry told Wellington District Court yesterday.

"Your victim made the singular error of judgment of chasing after you, which led to this shot being fired into the air," the judge said.

Crosbie and a friend had been at Paraparaumu's Retro Bar, in the Kapiti Lights area where two men have died violently this year.

It was just after 2am on December 9 last year when Crosbie and his friend were asked to leave because of their behaviour, leading to a stoush with a doorman.

The doorman's cousin helped remove Crosbie's friend and Crosbie told the cousin that he would be dead by the end of the week.

Crosbie fetched a loaded .303 rifle from his house, and drove around looking for the cousin, whose name is suppressed.

Judge Barry said that after finding the cousin sitting on a bench in Kapiti Rd, Crosbie and his friend drove past a few times with the car lights off, and when the car stopped the cousin went to speak to the driver.

Crosbie got out of the car and aimed the rifle at the cousin, who grabbed hold of it and struggled with him. Crosbie was forced back into the car, which drove off.

The cousin chased on foot briefly and when the car slowed to turn on to the highway Crosbie opened the car door and fired into the air.

The cousin had a superficial injury to his fingers and it was initially thought the bullet had grazed the man's hand, but police agreed it was now not certain how the injury occurred.

Crosbie and his friend were arrested the following day.

Crosbie was sentenced yesterday to eight months' home detention and 150 hours' community work after earlier pleading guilty to charges of discharging a firearm with reckless disregard for the safety of others, unlawful possession of the rifle, and threatening to kill.

Judge Barry said Crosbie's previous convictions painted a graphic picture of a violent drinker, who was drunk a lot of the time.

But since the shooting Crosbie had been "dry" and had sought treatment for his alcohol use. There had now been a quantum shift in Crosbie's outlook and lifestyle, the judge said.

Retro Bar has suffered unwanted publicity because of the deaths of lzak Millanta, 17, in August and Sean Strongman-Lintern, 20, in September, after both were attacked in car parks around the bar at Kapiti Lights.

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At a hearing last month, police applied for the licence of MSP Trading - known as Retro Bar & Amigos Mexican Restaurant - to be cancelled or suspended or for the hours to be reduced.

- The Dominion Post

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