Elderly accused found to be mentally impaired

20:16, Jun 04 2014

A Wanaka man accused of attacking a police officer has been found unfit to stand trial.

Peter John Barratt, 72, was charged with assaulting a police officer with intent to obstruct, threatening to kill a senior constable and his daughters, threatening to kill a constable, resisting a constable and driving with a breath-alcohol level of 751 micrograms on April 10.

Yesterday Barratt appeared in the Queenstown District Court where Judge Christina Cook found he was unfit to stand trial or plead after a psychologist and psychiatrist found he had a mental impairment. Barratt was remanded in custody to appear in the Invercargill District Court on June 12, unless an earlier date became available, to consider allowing him to be bailed to Wakari Hospital in Dunedin for further reports to be conducted.

The alleged assault on Senior Constable Sean Hurley, of Wanaka, and threat to Constable Peter Reed happened in Makarora.

While taking Barratt to Wanaka, Hurley was allegedly attacked, suffering injuries to his head, ribs and an eye.

Dangerous driving


Michael David Clayton, 23, qualified engineer of Albert Town, was fined $600 and disqualified from driving for six months.

He was convicted of dangerous driving after his car spun out of control and hit a bank.

Clayton was travelling with Bonnie Yan Lan on November 6 when he lost control on a corner with a 65kmh speed limit on Mt Aspiring Rd, near Wanaka.

Clayton, who defended himself in court, told police after the crash he reached speeds of 130kmh about 15 minutes before the crash but believed he was going about 80kmh at the time of the crash.

He said he was also aware the back tyres on the car at the time were wearing and believed the lack of tread caused him to "slide out".

"I wasn't going to put her [Yan Lan] in any danger," he said.

Police prosecutor Ian Collin said Clayton's driving was an act of "bravado" and he was showing off.

The judge said a combination of excessive speed and the state of the tyres on the car justified the dangerous driving charge.


Matthew Messerschimdt, 28, of Cromwell, was remanded until August 14 to appear in the Alexandra District Court for sentencing for assaulting a female on February 15. The judge found Messerschimdt punched his former partner four times.


Paul David Norris, 45, vineyard worker, of Luggate, was sentenced to nine months in jail and disqualified from driving indefinitely for recording a breath-alcohol level of 866mcg and driving while disqualified on April 8. It was his fifth drink-driving conviction.

The Southland Times