The man who calls himself the guardian of Lake Horowhenua could face jail time after being found guilty in the Levin District Court of assaulting a kayaker and threatening behaviour.
After dismissing two charges of using insulting language on August 21, Judge Gregory Ross found Philip Dean Taueki guilty of assaulting kayaker John Taylor on August 22 at Lake Horowhenua Domain and guilty of threatening to injure with intent to intimidate.
Mr Taylor said Taueki had approached him and used abusive language before slamming Mr Taylor's car door, throwing him against the body of his car.
Mr Taylor told the court he had been tying his kayak back on the roof of his car after paddling on the lake when Taueki started yelling a string of expletives at him. He said he put himself between his open driver's door and the body of his car because he thought Taueki was going to assault him.
Taueki then walked away telling Mr Taylor "I will get you after I win in the Maori Land Court", and waving a fist in his direction.
Taueki, defending himself, claimed his raised fist echoed an anti-apartheid gesture made famous by Nelson Mandela.
However, Judge Ross dismissed that and said he believed Mr Taylor had given an accurate account of events and was a credible witness.
Earlier in the day one of Taueki's supporters was evicted by courtroom security after harassing Mr Taylor once he had finished giving evidence. During the lunchtime break, a Horowhenua Rowing Club member was verbally abused by Taueki outside the courtroom.
Judge Ross questioned whether Taueki was the right person as kaitiaki [guardian] as his behaviour towards people using the lake and the domain continued to result in him being arrested and charged for offences that included intimidation.
He asked Taueki's supporters to consider other options as Taueki's behaviour had escalated to the level that the charges he had been found guilty of could mean time jail.
Taueki will reappear in court on October 24 for sentencing.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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