Stanton fined for angry rant

Last updated 12:00 01/02/2014

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Lewis Stanton has been fined $100 for a verbal "tirade" in Nelson's Bridge St.

Hone Ma Heke, as he is otherwise known, appeared before two Justices of the Peace in the Nelson District Court yesterday where he unsuccessfully contested one charge that he behaved offensively, after becoming enraged by a parking dispute with Nelson real estate agent Doug McKee on November 12 last year.

The court held that Stanton's loud, prolonged "tirade of abuse" against Mr McKee, during which he also lambasted the police, Bridge St retailers and the Nelson City Council, had disrupted the public peace and constituted offensive behaviour.

Stanton did not dispute that he had caused a scene.

"I think it needed to be heard, because if I just whispered, would anybody take notice?" he asked the court.

"What is offensive is the violation of our basic human rights.

"Something needs to be done about it, full-stop."

The court heard that Stanton had been parking his horse and cart in central Nelson on November 12 when Mr McKee "shot" into a free space ahead of him.

There was some dispute as to how close the car came to Stanton's horse, Barney, but Mr McKee rejected defence counsel Jessica Herd's claim that he had been trying to provoke Stanton.

Stanton yelled: "Don't try a dirty trick like that again."

Mr McKee later approached the cart and said: "Don't talk to me like that again."

Stanton then "let fly" a loud torrent of abuse, which included calling Mr McKee a " c...", the court heard.

"He erupted in a foul stream of abusive language," Mr McKee said.

"I was just left standing there, it was a most unpleasant experience. It was embarrassing."

Witness Pamela Neal said she thought it was "totally inappropriate" for anybody to use such loud and offensive language in central Nelson. Initially "bemused" by the situation, Mrs Neal said she became "quite angry, to feel that our town was being held to ransom by this person".

Ms Herd suggested to all of the police's witnesses that they were part of an "anti-Hone bandwagon" and were prejudiced against him, which Mrs Neal rejected.

"I have never heard of the anti-Hone bandwagon."

She and other police witnesses admitted not liking the way Stanton tried to get his message across.

"It's the same old story. We obey the law and if we don't we are punished. He doesn't obey the law and doesn't appear to be punished."

Stanton will defend an assault charge and another offensive language charge in coming weeks.

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- The Nelson Mail

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