Gun dealer clocked at 177km/h keeps his Audi
An experienced police officer who pulled over Gun City owner David Tipple after he was clocked speeding at 177km/h claims the millionaire was so confrontational that he called for back-up, a court heard yesterday.
Tipple, 61, had been travelling through Central Otago on April 8 this year when a member of the public phoned police to complain about his driving.
The gun dealer was stopped by police near Twizel and "essentially warned", Christchurch District Court heard.
But after being sent on his way, another police constable clocked Tipple's Audi car travelling near the Lindis Pass at 181km/h.
By the time the police radar locked his speed, Tipple was registered doing 177km/h before he "braked hard".
After stopping, Tipple got out of his car, "challenged what [the constable] was doing", and recorded the interaction on his phone, the court heard.
The constable thought Tipple "may have been trying to goad him into saying something wrong".
"He was sufficiently concerned that he called for back-up to come to the location," Judge Tom Gilbert said.
Tipple then drove off without his summons, telling the officer that he would need to post it, the court heard.
The police officer would later say that in 23 years of policing, Tipple "would have been one of worst people he's ever dealt with".
Defence counsel Gerald Lascelles said Tipple did not accept the constable's version of events, or that he had been "confrontational".
He said Tipple had got out of his car immediately and provided all of the relevant information, which the officer had somehow found objectionable.
Lascelles said Tipple was the managing director of a sizeable and reputable company which saw him travel extensively in New Zealand and overseas.
The policeman who dealt with Tipple "appears to have had it in" for him, Lascelles said.
While it was dark, driving conditions were good and traffic was light at the time, the court heard.
Investigations by a police serious crash unit, however, said at the speed Tipple was going, the stopping distance would have been in excess of 160m.
In sentencing Tipple, Judge Gilbert described his driving history as being "unenviable".
He referred to Tipple being convicted for driving at dangerous speed in 1982; driving in a dangerous manner in 1980; driving in a dangerous manner and failing to stop for police in 1989; and in 2008 driving recklessly and failing to stop for police. He also alluded to a "smattering" of other convictions both in New Zealand and overseas.
He also described Tipple's driving on this occasion as "abysmal".
"It beggars belief that you had been spoken to by police in relation to the manner of your driving, and then within a very short space of time, you carried on to drive at the speed you were clocked at," Judge Gilbert said.
On the charge of driving at a dangerous speed, he sentenced Tipple to 120 hours of community work and disqualified him from driving for nine months.
After "very careful consideration", Judge Gilbert decided not to confiscate his Audi.