A judge has told a quake claimant who squirted paint stripper over Earthquake Commission staff cars that he will be jailed this afternoon unless he coughs up some cash for the damage.
Semi-retired Christchurch painter and decorator Russell Taylor Carr, 57, was found guilty of intentional damage after a judge-alone trial earlier this year.
He had admitted being in dispute with the much-maligned Crown entity for more than two years over a quake-damaged property but vehemently denied the vandalism allegations.
Carr was due to be sentenced at 9.30am today before Judge Stephen O'Driscoll at Christchurch District Court who immediately wanted to know what Carr's plan for reparation was.
Defence counsel Nikita Mitskevitch said the amount sought to cover the damages, and not including the cost of testing the liquid used in the acid attack, was more than $14,000.
The lawyer said that Carr was semi-retired but did do some work and if the judge imposed reparation, he could make an arrangement to repay some money.
But O'Driscoll wasn't having it. "No. He's denying the offending. I do not believe he will pay it."
The judge noted that Carr had planned an overseas trip and was selling a property. If he failed to make some "meaningful" reparation payments, he faced jail today, where he could then apply for an electronically-monitored sentence.
"I'm not playing games with him and he's not playing games with me," said Judge O'Driscoll.
"His attitude at the moment is such that I have no confidence he would pay one cent of reparation if it was left up to him."
The judge stood the matter down until 2.15pm so Carr could decide whether he could come up with some reparation.
"Bring a bag if there's no reparation being offered," the judge warned him.
During the trial, Carr said "extensive problems" with EQC, including allegations that it accused him of lying and falsifying documentation, led to a complaint being lodged with the Office of the Ombudsman. He ended up enlisting a claims advocate to deal with EQC on his behalf.
EQC said its vehicles had been vandalised twice in 2015, which prompted it to install CCTV in their staff carpark.
Shortly before 11am on July 1, 2016 a white van was recorded on security cameras driving past staff vehicles.
Grainy footage seen by the Herald shows a clear liquid coming from the passing driver's window and splashing on to EQC cars and utes.
Two staff members say they saw the same white van return a week later.
Laboratory tests concluded the substance to have been paint stripper or similar industrial solvent.
Constable Tony Hickland interviewed Carr four weeks later and showed him CCTV footage. He suggested to Carr that it was his cellphone number painted on the side of the van, along with R.T. CARR Decorators Ltd.
"Ooh that's nice. Well, it wasn't me," Carr said.
He repeatedly denied the claims, and although he admitted he didn't like EQC, like thousands of Cantabrians, he said: "I'm not lowering myself to their levels."
Judge O'Driscoll concluded that Carr was the van driver.