25 Jan 2019

Man pleads guilty to blackmail over threats on DOC 1080 use

10:53 am on 25 January 2019

A Taranaki man has pleaded guilty to blackmail after he sent threatening letters to the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Gregory Ross Buchanan is accused of blackmailing the Department of Conservation in an attempt to end its 1080 pest control programme.

Gregory Ross Buchanan. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Gregory Ross Buchanan appeared in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday.

He was facing four charges of blackmail, but three were withdrawn in favour of a representative charge.

He initially pleaded not guilty to the four charges of blackmail in November.

The charge relates to four letters Buchanan wrote between September 2017 and November 2018 threatening to release Sika deer into the DOC estate, including Egmont National Park, and to poison meat and milk processing plants.

The Crown said he wrote the letters in an attempt to get DOC to end its use of 1080 pesticide.

The 65-year-old was remanded on bail to a New Plymouth address for an unspecified sentencing date as of yet.

As a condition of his bail he is not to enter the city's DOC office, have contact with any DOC employees or enter onto DOC land.