Invasion accused weren't there, say lawyers

Last updated 13:38 09/10/2012

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Two men accused of tying up and robbing an elderly Upper Hutt couple to steal thousands in cash from them were never at the scene, their lawyers have said.

Jeremy Brian Gorinski, 34 and Dinesh Kumar Manoharan, 36, are both charged with the aggravated robbery of Malcom and Yvonne Wiffen on June 19 last year and have pleaded not guilty.

The Crown have said they broke into the Wiffen's Silverstream home, held guns to their heads, demanded money and gold, got into their safe and left them tied up on their living room floor with pillowcases on their heads.

Manoharan's lawyer Christopher Stevenson however said the only thing the Crown had shown was that Manoharan was guilty by association, and made some foolish choices like running from the police.

He agreed it looked bad, but there was no evidence that Manoharan was at the house.  He was not seen until several days later, when he was arrested with Gorinski in a Coast Rd house in Wainuiomata.

"He was not seen with spectacularly large sums of cash.  He had $30 in his wallet when the police arrested him," Mr Stevenson told a Wellington District Court jury.

He was also not caught with any of the property from the Wiffens' house, he said.

Mr Stevenson said a DNA profile taken from a tie used to bind the Wiffens was unsafe to use and the Crown had conceded the profile could be shared with many other people.

"Everything in fact points to Mr Manoharan in fact not being in the house or being an aggravated robber,'' he said.

Gorinski's lawyer Keith Jefferies said the scientific evidence against his client was flawed.

A footprint that appeared to show wear patterns like that from Gorinski's shoe had not been eliminated as being from any of the 10 other people who had come through the Wiffen's home.

He said there was a mystery to be solved about who might have broken into the home, and police never investigated others it could have been.

"He was not identified at the house and you can not convict on speculation,'' Mr Jefferies said.

He said Gorinski was in Palmerston North at the time of the robbery and instead was the receiver of some stolen items like a ring he was caught wearing.

Crown prosecutor Sally Carter told the jury when all the bits of evidence were taken together, it was too much of a coincidence that the robbers were someone other than Gorinski and Manoharan.

The judge is to sum up the case today and the jury to begin deliberations.

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- The Dominion Post

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