Winemaker denies assaulting two men

Jeremy Mckenzie
Jeremy Mckenzie

A well-known Blenheim athlete and winemaker denied assaulting two men and presenting a rifle at them when he appeared in the Blenheim District Court yesterday.

Multisport athlete Jeremy Mckenzie, 36, faces two charges of common assault and two charges of presenting a firearm unlawfully and without purpose, namely a .357 lever action rifle, at two men.

The alleged incident happened while he was hunting in Marlborough on May 5.

The winemaker appeared before Judge David McKegg.

His lawyer, Luke Radich, said he was hoping the issue could be resolved without a hearing.

The charges related to an incident while Mckenzie was hunting on a Marlborough property with permission from the landowner. He came across two men who were trespassing on the property by illegally hunting, Mr Radich said. The men said they were looking for a dog but one of them fired a shot after being confronted by Mckenzie.

Mckenzie managed to disarm both men and returned all the equipment to the farmer, Mr Radich said. "It's partly a case of he said, she said . . . but there are many different layers to it."

He suggested the two men went to the police first to avoid being charged themselves.

Judge McKegg said the case had the look of something that could be resolved with restorative justice.

He remanded Mckenzie until August 20 for a status hearing.

The Marlborough Express