New Zealand Police v Plyman [2019] NZDC 13489

Published 13 September 2021

Criminal harassment — dispute between neighbours — fear for safety — R v D [2002] NZLR 641 — Harassment Act 1997, ss 3, 4(1)(f) & 8. The defendant faced a charge of criminal harassment against his neighbour (the complainant). Following a disagreement with the defendant, the complainant began to notice plastic bottle caps regularly being left at the bottom of her driveway or under her letterbox. This continued for more than two years, and as the complainant was an elderly woman living alone in an isolated area, she began to suffer anxiety attacks brought on by the thought that she was being targeted. Camera evidence tied the defendant to the offending. The offence of criminal harassment involves a defendant undertaking a pattern of behaviour intended to make the target of the harassment reasonably fear for their safety. The Court was satisfied that it was the defendant who was responsible for leaving the bottle caps on the complainant's property. Further, given the regularity of the offending conduct and the defendant's knowledge that the complainant was an elderly woman who lived alone, the Court was satisfied that the defendant intended to make the complainant fear for her safety. Finally, as the complainant was vulnerable and did not know who was targeting her, the Court concluded that it was reasonable for her to fear for her safety. The Court found the defendant guilty on the charge. Judgment Date: 15 July 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *