Wanaka Fire / Drone Interference - Case Citations and File Numbers

Allen Reynolds made this Official Information request to Ministry of Justice

The request was successful.

From: Allen Reynolds

03 May 2019

Ministry of Justice
Dear Sir or Madam

Official information request:

Please supply the following information under the Official Information Act (OIA):

Please provide Medium Neutral Citation(s) and/or File Number(s) for the following case
Please provide link(s) to the judgement(s) for the following case

I have used the search tool on the District Court website - http://www.districtcourts.govt.nz/ - but to no avail. I searched for the persons full name and for parts of their name; I searched for the terms drone, rpas, fire, Wanaka – but cannot find this case…

Same result from the search tool on Judicial Decisions Online - https://forms.justice.govt.nz/jdo/Introd...

The case:

On 03 January 2018 a large fire near Wanaka was fought by firefighters and several helicopters. A drone (RPAS) was operated near the fire, grounding helicopters, and the drone operator appeared in court as a result –

“Queenstown District Court has remanded Chilean tourist Jorge Eduardo Riquelme Cruz, 33, on bail, without plea, on a charge of operating an unmanned drone near the fire likely to endanger fire-fighting pilots and their helicopters...”

His next court appearance is January 29…”

Link - http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10068810...

“Jorge Eduardo Riquelme Cruz pleaded guilty to one charge of careless use of a drone under the Civil Aviation Act…”

“Judge [Kim] Saunders denied the transfer [back to Queenstown] and instead remanded the case for sentencing in Hamilton District Court on February 9…”

Link - https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/1...

“Jorge Eduardo Riquelme Cruz, 33, was convicted at the Hamilton District Court on Friday…” By way of sentencing, the drone was forfeited to the Crown.

Link - https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/1...

If you need any more information from me please let me know as soon as possible.

I understand that a decision on a request for information under the OIA should be made within 20 working days of receiving that request.

If you do not normally deal with official information requests, or you need advice on dealing with this request, guidance is available from the Ombudsman at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz.

Thank you
Allen Reynolds

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From: correspondence, official
Ministry of Justice

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Good morning Mr Reynolds,


Thank you for your request of 03 May 2019.

The information you have requested is court information and is not subject
to the Official Information Act 1982, as per section 2(6) of the Act. This
is because the Courts and judiciary are not part of the Ministry and are
independent of the executive branch of the government.

For the purposes of the Act, I am refusing your request for information
under section 18(g) on the basis that this information is not held by the
Ministry (because it is court information).  You have the right to seek a
review of my decision by the Ombudsman under section 28(3) of the Act. 
The Ombudsman can be contacted at this website:

You must apply directly to the relevant court for access to court
information. This may attract a fee. Please note that access to court
information is governed by specific search rules and the inherent
authority of the courts to regulate access to the information under its

Your request will be considered by either the Registrar or, if necessary,
a Judge. Any decision relating to the release of court information is a
judicial decision. The Ministry of Justice cannot intervene or comment on
this decision-making process.

Court contact details can be found at the following link:
[2]www.justice.govt.nz/contact-us/find-us/ OR

The form to make a court record search can be found on our website here:




Kind regards,


[4]http://www.justice.govt.nz/courts/shared... Alex Pickard
Advisor |
Ministry of
Justice | Tāhū
o te Ture



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Allen Reynolds left an annotation ()

have asked Queenstown and Hamilton District Courts...


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Allen Reynolds left an annotation ()

the case is now on the District Courts web site - search for 'drone'

full ref : New Zealand Police v Riquelme-Cruz [2018] NZDC 2246
and : New Zealand Police v Riquelme-Cruz [2018] NZDC 2286

thanks to Hamilton DC for guidance


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