Man remanded after punching airport sign

00:36, Jun 12 2014

A man who had to have oxygen on a plane and subsequently punched through a Nelson Airport sign has been remanded on bail.

In the Nelson District Court this week, Jesse Pita, 19,admitted wilful damage.

Prosecutor Ruth Thomas told the court Pita was on a plane on May 31 returning from a Limited Volunteer Course - a hands-on motivational and training programme for young people run by the New Zealand Defence Force on behalf of Work and Income.

While on the plane he suffered some distress and required oxygen. Once he got off the plane, he punched through a sign causing $2000 damage.

He explained to authorities that he was distressed after a call to his probation officer and that since the incident he had calmed down.

Defence counsel Kelly Hennessy said Pita was unemployed but he wanted to study in the future.

Judge Tony Zohrab remanded Pita on bail to appear for sentencing on July 8. The amount of reparations sought was still to be determined.

Nelson Airport general manager Kaye McNabb said Pita was seen causing the damage by security and police were called. "Any of these types of incidents would be treated in a similar vein." The estimated cost of the damage was $2000 because it was a laminated acrylic board and would have to be entirely replaced.


The Nelson Mail