Taxi driver recounts alleged abuse

Jenny McNee
Jenny McNee

A policewoman on trial for allegedly racially abusing a driver told him: "I am the police", during a late-night fare dispute, the Queenstown District Court was told today.

Constable Jeanette May McNee, 44, known as Jenny, appeared for the first day of a judge-alone trial in the court.

Judge Tony Couch declined all media applications for coverage inside court.

McNee is charged with using insulting words to a Malaysian taxi driver, Ganesh Paramanathan, on November 3 last year.

Police allege McNee said: "F... off to India, you come here and get all the Kiwi jobs. Eat your f...... curry and f... off to India. This is a Kiwi job."

Police prosecutor Glenn Henderson asked the taxi driver to discuss the incident, which happened about 2.30am in Rere Rd, Lake Hayes Estate, after he picked up a group of six people from central Queenstown and drove to drop-off points in Quail Rise and Lake Hayes Estate.

After the alleged words were spoken, the driver told the court: "I was looking at her, she was facing me.

"She was pointing her finger towards my face and I pointed back at her and said, 'don't be abusive and racist, I am only doing my job as a taxi driver' and she got more angry and she said, 'don't point your fingers at me'."

McNee grabbed his left wrist, squeezed and twisted, he said.

Paramanathan said he told her not to touch him or be abusive and racist because he would call police.

"She got very aggressive, she held the door open and said, 'I am the police'."'

Lawyer Nic Soper suggested to the witness that his client did not use insulting words and she did not say "I am the police" but the driver said this was not true.

The judge also addressed the media, saying he declined applications for in-court coverage because he considered it out of proportion to the minor nature of the charge, a Summary Offences Act charge with a maximum penalty of a $1000 fine.

The trial continues.

The Southland Times