Two guilty, one at large
One of the men involved in an attempted robbery in Woodville is still at large, but his two accomplices have been sentenced for the crime.
Jeremy Peter Carthew Creek, 23, Scott James, 22, and Bodene Luke Hauraki, 23, were initially all charged with assault with intent to injure in relation to a robbery in Woodville on Anzac Day last year.
Since then, Creek and James have pleaded guilty to an amended charge of attempted aggravated robbery while Hauraki maintained his innocence.
In the Palmerston North District Court this morning, Hauraki had the charge against him withdrawn on the basis there was no evidence.
Creek and James, however, were sentenced to seven months' home detention and 125 hours' community work.
On April 25 last year, two car wreckers were called to a property on Condoit Rd, Papatawa - near Woodville. They had been called by ''Dave'' - later discovered to be James - who said he had two Toyota Hilux vehicles he wanted to sell.
When they arrived, there was no one to meet them.
They sent ''Dave'' a text message, and a white car pulled up soon after.
Three men - James, Creek and another man - got out of the car and took the wreckers towards a shed. James rolled up the door and said something like ''oh ****, the car has gone'' before the men tried to put the wreckers into the shed.
One of the men was armed with a gun, which he pointed at the wreckers. But the two wreckers managed to flee before calling police.
Both James' lawyer, Peter Coles, and Creek's lawyer, Simon Hewson, said their clients had been on extremely restrictive bail since being arrested, and had also spent considerable time in custody. Those facts, along with the criminals' remorse, should be taken into account when sentencing.
Judge Gerard Lynch said the initial plan was for the three men to rob the wreckers. ''What was meant to be a robbery fell apart, fortunately so for the complainants.''
The two wreckers had been shaken up by the incident, with one now afraid to go to unknown addresses on his own. ''He fears someone might be waiting there with a gun.''
The judge said both men were genuinely remorseful and pleaded guilty to the amended charge at the first opportunity. Both men had effectively been on a 24-hour lockdown since being arrested - either in custody or on a curfew while on electronic bail - and the judge said that also had to be taken into account.
Neither James or Creek had identified who the third man behind the attempted robbery was.