On Friday, March 6, 2009 former hunting guide Richard Nunnick, 46, pleaded guilty to three fraud charges in Christchurch District Court. He was sentenced to six months home detention, 150 hours community work, and ordered to pay a total of NZ$45,169 in reparations at a rate of $40 a week to two complainants.
There will be few tears shed at his conviction, but the lightness of the sentence did upset those who took the case to court. American accountant Larry Shores said, "It is little more than a slap on the wrist. What he did through lies and deception was like an armed robbery. Words used instead of guns but the result the same. Theft."
So, what did this poser do that had the trophy hunting industry here so incensed? Firstly, he was a professional liar who took people in totally. On the emotional side, the worst offence he committed was convincing kind but gullible women that he had terminal cancer with only months left. They opened their homes to him, and he used them cruelly, sponging off them like a parasite. On the professional side, he lied like a flatfish, convincing American hunter and Hunting Report subscriber, Larry Shores, to pay two large hunt deposits and then doing a runner. He instructed another client to shoot two preserve high-priced stags that were not on the authorised list. The preserve owner was angry at the deception, and once again Nunnick did a runner when it came to paying.
He was convicted on two charges. Two offences of obtaining by deception, and one of using a document dishonestly. Store this name away in your file as a man never to trust. He is the proverbial rotten egg in a very clean barrel, as New Zealand has a group of very professional and very trustworthy guides. Neville Cunningham, the owner of the affected preserve, had pushed ahead with this case because he wanted future New Zealand hunting clients to know that this country quickly and effectively dealt to the 'bad uns'. Hats off to the good guys who achieved this result. You can read more about Nunnick in the next issue of The Hunting Report.