Nuisance tourist admits being 'a pain'

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 12:06 09/07/2014

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A drunken Englishman on holiday admits he was "a pain in the arse" during a night of bizarre behaviour at Christchurch Casino and a Merivale bar.

After being arrested for upsetting a woman by touching her legs on the bar's dance floor, he told police she was "a rape waiting to happen".

He claimed last night that he had been judged and treated badly by everyone because he was English.

James Robert Blanchard, 28, is living in Australia but has been having a three-week holiday in New Zealand.

He appeared looking dishevelled and worse for wear before Judge Robert Murfitt in the Christchurch District Court on a charge of disorderly behaviour and three assaults.

Blanchard did not agree with the police's written account of his behaviour, but he said the police had taken his passport and he did not see how he could stay in New Zealand for a long time to defend the charges.

After talking the issues through in court, he agreed to plead guilty to the three assaults, and the judge then reminded him there was also a disorderly behaviour charge. "That's definitely true," he said.

Prosecutor Sergeant Paul Scott said Blanchard had been drinking in the bars along Victoria Street before he was removed from the casino last night because of his intoxication and odd behaviour. He tried to force his way back in seven times, and was abusive to staff who tried to pacify him. He left the area at midnight.

He turned up at Aikman's Bar in Merivale where he crouched next to a woman on the dance floor, touched her ankles and ran his hands up her legs to the line of her dress, above her knees.

Police said the woman was alarmed and offended, shoved him away, and told him to leave her alone. He feigned innocence and approached her twice more. She became extremely upset, and the bouncers then asked him to leave.

Police said Blanchard swung a punch that missed one bouncer, and repeated tried to get back in the bar when he was removed. He was again abusive to the staff and kicked one twice in the shin. He was then held on the ground until police arrived.

Sergeant Scott said none of the victims had been injured, but he also said Blanchard had spat at staff during the incident.
Blanchard said in court that the spitting didn't happen. "I can remember fairly well, but I was very drunk." He also denied throwing a first punch.

"The whole woman situation, I don't know what to make of that really. I am extremely sorry for what I have done. I was a pain in the arse. I deserve everything I get."

Judge Murfitt told him he had assaulted the young lady in an offensive way and made a nuisance of himself, but he had apologised for his behaviour today.

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He convicted and discharged Blanchard on most of the charges, but ordered him to pay $250 to the Salvation Army, and another $250 to the woman as emotional harm reparations. For assaulting the woman he got a three-month suspended sentence.

The payments must be made by 4pm today.

- The Press

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