KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2, 2014:
A New Zealand policewoman has been found guilty of racially abusing a Malaysian taxi driver, working in Queenstown, during a late-night fare dispute.
TheSouthland Timesreported that Constable Jeanette May McNee, 44, was found guilty of using insulting words towards Ganesh Paramanathan on Nov 3, 2013.
However, McNee was not convicted by Judge Tony Couch as her lawyer, Nic Soper, intended to apply for a discharge without conviction.
Instead, she was remanded pending the application.
Couch found McNee as having 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,” and that evidence given by Paramanathan was clear and straightforward during cross-examination.
However, evidence given by McNee, her husband Geoff and the other taxi passengers were discounted.
“She (McNee) did not directly answer many of the questions put to her in cross-examination. I entirely reject the denial and accept the evidence the words complained of were said.
“I am not suggesting the defendant deliberately lied under oath. This seems to be the defendant has come to believe what she wants to be true,” Couch was reported to have said, also inferring from the evidence that the recollection by McNee was incomplete and selective.
Although McNee avoided the media as she left the court, surrounded by a large group of friends and family, Paramanathan was apparently smiling and said that he was glad the case was over when he departed with Queenstown Taxis managing director Grant Scannell.
During the incident, which took place between 2.30am and 3am on Nov 3, Paramanathan had apparently picked up six people from central Queenstown, driving them to Quail Rise and Lake Hayes Estate when he was abused by McNee.
“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’,” Paramanathan said in reply to questions posed by police prosecutor Glenn Henderson.
Paramanathan said McNee had then grabbed his left wrist, squeezed and twisted after which he warned 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’,” said Paramanathan when speaking on Monday, the first day of the two-day judge-only trial which was closed to the media.
Southern district police commander Superintendent Andrew Coster said police acknowledged the court’s finding and McNee remained on leave without pay, but said police were making no further comment as the court process had not concluded.