Stanton fined for abusive tirade

Self-styled "freelance politician" Lewis Stanton has again been fined $100 for using offensive language in Nelson's Bridge St.

The Nelson District Court heard that Stanton, also known as Hone Ma Heke, called an elderly woman a "silly b...." after she commented on the welfare of his horse, Barney, on November 1 last year.

Last week Stanton received the same fine for similar offending.

Before taking the witness stand yesterday, Stanton pulled out a rasberry sponge cake and offered it to the two justices of the peace hearing his case.

"Before we get started, I'd like to ask you to celebrate three years to the day since I told Judge [Tony] Zohrab that I wouldn't tolerate the continued violation of my basic human rights by the Nelson City Council or anybody else. Please have some cake," he said.

The cake, adorned with three blue candles, was left untouched and was returned to Stanton after he was convicted.

The first of two prosecution witnesses, Samila Chisnall, told the court she saw Stanton having a verbal "scuffle" with an elderly lady.

The lady had murmured some abusive words, calling Stanton a "disgrace", before Stanton erupted into a torrent of offensive language, she said.

"There was a lot of swearing, mainly the F-word.

"It was quite loud. A lot of people turned around and stopped what they were doing. People came out of their shops.

"In a street like that, it's just unnecessary, I think. I mean, I don't think it's fair that people make nasty comments [to Mr Stanton], but [his language] alarmed me.

"He was responding to her, but in an over-the-top way. There were children and elderly people around. It's just a respect thing."

Bridge St shop owner Lorraine Beattie said Stanton's outburst was intimidating and un-nerving.

"I thought, ‘Here we go again'.

"I get concerned for my staff who get very upset, and also for my customers who get uptight and upset by it, too. It was very loud."

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Jessica Herd, Mrs Beattie said she had nothing against Stanton or his mode of transportation, adding that she loved horses and that "contrary to what people say, Barney is well looked after and loves Mr Stanton".

"It's not that - it's the continual abuse," she said.

In his own evidence, Stanton accepted that he raised his voice. He told the court, as he did last week, that he intended to get his message out.

"If I whispered, would you take any notice?" he said.

"Sometimes you have got to stand up to be counted."

He said the Nelson City Council and the judicial system had continually failed him.

"When are you people, leaders of the community, of society, going to get off your butts and do something positive to change the situation?"

Prosecutor Wayne Johnston asked Stanton if he thought it was fair to take out his long-held grievances on the unknown woman, who felt threatened and alarmed by his behaviour.

"Like I say, I feel threatened and alarmed about the failure of your systems," Stanton replied.

Stanton is scheduled to reappear in the Nelson District Court later this month, to defend an assault charge.

The Nelson Mail