The victim of a violent group assault and kidnapping near Queenstown was a drug dealer, con artist, fraudster and rip off merchant, a defence lawyer has told an Invercargill jury.
The jury trial for Rachel Maree Faul, the remaining defendant in a 2011 kidnapping case that took place near Queenstown, started in the Invercargill District Court before Judge Gary MacAskill yesterday.
The high-profile case involved several people charged with various offences relating to the violent assault and kidnapping of Jason Maynard after a drug deal went wrong. Defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton, speaking at the start of Faul's trial yesterday, said Mr Maynard was a drug dealer, con-artist, fraudster and rip off merchant.
Faul, 22, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of offering to supply the class B drug ecstasy and kidnapping between November 25 and 26 in 2011.
Crown lawyer Riki Donnelly said that on the night of November 25, Faul was socialising at a Queenstown bar with friends.
During the night Faul offered to supply ecstasy to her friend Daniel Kissell. Later in the night the group got a plastic bag of white powder they believed was drugs but when one of the group tried it he believed it had no effect on him, Mr Donnelly said.
Faul then arranged by text message to meet Mr Maynard.
The group went to a house where some of them changed their clothing and one got a meat cleaver before driving in two cars to the Crown Range turnoff where Mr Maynard was waiting. One of the cars was being driven by Faul, Mr Donnelly said.
As Mr Maynard approached the vehicle driven by Faul a group ran and assaulted him, which included punches to the face and a head-butt, and one held a meat cleaver against his throat, he said.
Mr Maynard was pushed into the back of Faul's car and she drove towards Arrowtown before pulling over and dropping him off, he said.
As a result of the night several people were convicted of various offences.
Defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton told the jury they would not hear any evidence that Faul offered to supply ecstasy because she did not. Mr Eaton then talked about the group being supplied with a powder, which they believed was sugar and flour. The group became angry and wanted their money back because they had been "ripped off by a drug dealer", he said.
Faul, who knew Mr Maynard, arranged to meet him to get their money back but the men "went overboard" and beat him up. Faul, who was sitting in the vehicle, did not know they were going to beat him up and was not responsible for it.
"She had no control or influence over him being put in her car. She's not guilty of kidnapping."
From the witness stand yesterday, Mr Maynard said he received a text message from Faul asking to meet him at the Crown Range. While there, he went to the window of her vehicle and "before I knew it there was people in front of me".
He could not recall anything being said but he was beaten up by four or five people who were wearing either beanies or balaclavas. He was then forcefully put in the back seat of Faul's vehicle.
He remembered the vehicle stopping and being pushed out.
When asked by Mr Eaton, Mr Maynard confirmed he was dealing drugs at the time. Mr Eaton then asked him if he was deliberately selling products that were not drugs, and he said he was not. He had passed the substance on for somebody else and did not know what it was.
Mr Maynard told the court he had no recollection of anyone talking about claiming money back from him and he did not know where he was going once in the vehicle.
He did not know why Faul wanted to meet him.
When asked if he remembered raised voices and yelling he replied, "No, I just remember fearing for my life really."
The trial continues today.
- The Southland Times