Teen in court over body in street
MICHELLE ROBINSON AND KIRSTY JOHNSTON
A teenager charged with assault after a body was found in an Auckland street could face more serious charges.
The 17-year-old appeared in the Manukau District Court today and was granted interim name suppression and bailed to an address in Karama Rd, Mt Wellington, under 24-hour curfew.
He was ordered not to associate with three people while the homicide investigation continued, and is due to re-appear in the court on October 16.
Police were alerted to a body on Hillside Rd, Mt Wellington, at 11.30pm on Sunday.
A man calling himself "Hohepa" had phoned police from a nearby phone box.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said police believed they knew who the dead man was, but wouldn't release his name until his family had been informed.
An autopsy was being carried out today.
The police investigation is in its early stages, with several suspects being spoken to, the court heard today.
A holding charge of assault was laid against the teenager, which may be upgraded as the investigation proceeds.
His lawyer Mele Tuilotolava applied for name suppression, which was initially denied.
''He lives with aged caregivers, his grandparents, who have not been told of the charge. These people are very old, his grandmother's not in good health," she said.
''It's known that a man has died.''
Judge Josephine Bouchier argued that the potential for the assault charge to be upgraded was not enough to grant name suppression.
''He's been charged with the lowest grade of assault, that's what they're going to be confronted with. If it gets upgraded we'll discuss it then,'' she said.
"I don't accept that this is going to be definitely upgraded to murder or manslaughter.''
Interim name suppression was granted until Thursday afternoon while Tuilotolava appealed the decision.
Police don't believe the teenager acted alone and are seeking information on anyone else involved in the homicide.
"We know there were a number of other people involved. We're asking for any of those people to come forward," Lynch said.
Police are also appealing for further information from the public about activity near the corner of Hillside Rd and Panama Rd on Sunday night.
The dead man has been described as wearing blue jeans held up with a piece of white electrical cable and a green jumper/sweatshirt. He was believed to be a Maori or Pacific Islander in his 20s or 30s, and was of average build and height with short black hair.
Anyone with information is asked to call Auckland police on 09 259 1261.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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