Double-murder accused appears in court
A decision to grant a double-murder accused name suppression until only this afternoon has been appealed.
The 25-year-old appeared in Papakura District Court this morning charged with the murders of 69-year-old Paul Robert Fanning and 47-year-old Paul Joseph Matthews at a South Auckland pawn shop on Saturday.
Justice of the Peace Tony Charman refused media requests to photograph the accused because of the ongoing police investigation, but only suppressed his name until 4pm, giving immediate family the afternoon to tell other relatives about the charges.
However, an hour before the suppression was due to lapse, the court advised the decision had been appealed by defence counsel and suppression would continue until the appeal was heard in the High Court.
The accused was arrested outside the Huntly police station late on Saturday more than 10 hours after the alleged incident at Takanini Ezy Cash Store.
It is alleged he went there on Saturday afternoon with his female partner, who his lawyer said worked at the shop, and killed two men inside.
Fanning is believed to be the store's owner, while Matthews is understood to be an employee.
Defence lawyer Kersie Khambatta applied for interim name suppression saying there would be extreme hardship to the defendant's children aged 3 and 5, and his sister who was at school.
Khambatta also said there were issues regarding the safety of the defendant's family.
"They say there are other people out there who are very angry and non-suppression of details would mean that there'd be danger," he said.
Khambatta indicated bail would be sought but would be opposed by police and therefore had to be heard by the High Court.
The 25-year-old was remanded in custody until next month when he will appear in the High Court in Auckland.
Family and friends of the victims and the accused packed the public gallery and while many cried throughout, one woman shouted "scum" as the accused left the dock.
Police said the woman who was with him during the incident and was in court today, was helping with inquiries but they would not comment on whether she could face charges.
"We are unsure at this stage whether the man arrested had any prior relationship or knew the two men that were killed," Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said.
The woman, who was believed to have driven the vehicle the couple left in, was being treated as a witness by police.
It did not appear anything was stolen from the store and there was no indication of a robbery, police said.
Officers found a "sharp item" of interest that would be subject to further investigation.
Police said they were called to the shop at 1.10pm when a panic alarm was activated.
They want information from the public of sightings of a Silver 2003 Mitsubishi Colt Hatchback believed to have travelled from Takanini to the Avondale area.
The car possibly stopped at the Avondale Racecourse before travelling to Papakura and then Huntly, where it was found by police.
In Auckland the car had a large "For Sale" sticker in the rear window, but it had disappeared by the time it reached Huntly.
Police were also looking for a brown Dickies hooded top that might have been discarded near the Avondale racecourse. The hoodie was likely to have blood on it and should not be touched, police said.