Home dispute was 'deal gone wrong'

Last updated 13:15 21/02/2014

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The victim of an alleged home invasion was "no saint" and had a violent streak, a defence lawyer told the Nelson District Court.

Defence counsel made their closing statements yesterday in the retrial of James Samuel Kiriona, his younger brother Joshua Jade Kiriona, Daniel Waka Minogue, and Tuwhare Hoani Mana Pui.

The four deny all charges relating to the September 24, 2012, incident at a Canvastown house.

The Crown has alleged the men were looking for pseudoephedrine pills used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Its witnesses have said Reginald "Reg" Mischeski was repeatedly hit over the head with a pair of garden loppers during an aggravated robbery, which the Crown said was a "rip" or "hit" for drugs and cash carried out by Pui, Minogue and Josh Kiriona on the order of Blenheim Mongrel Mob member James Kiriona.

The court heard eight-months pregnant Hayley Kramer, who was Mr Mischeski's partner, was kicked in the stomach by Minogue, before the men took half an ounce of cannabis.

Defence counsel Tony Bamford, for James Kiriona, said the defendant went to the property because he was trying to tidy up a messy arrangement.

The incident was simply the result of a transaction going wrong, he said.

Mr Bamford said on the day of the incident, Kiriona spent all his drug money at the "pokies" and out of desperation he had no other option but to settle the deal with Mr Mischeski by providing fake drugs.

When Mr Mischeski revealed a pipe to smoke the faulty substance, Kiriona "came clean".

Mr Mischeski was obviously frustrated and things got out of control as a consequence, he said.

Mr Mischeski was the first to yell, which was consistent with both Kiriona's and Ms Kramer's evidence.

To describe Mr Mischeski as "no angel or saint" was an euphemistic way to describe a witness who had a lot to hide.

He was inconsistent and unreliable witness, he said.

On the stand Mr Mischeski waxed lyrical about refraining from using drugs but Mr Bamford said this was implausible, especially seeing as he admitted to regularly smoking cannabis.

It was Mr Mischeski who had the violent streak and this was evident by Kiriona's injuries where he suffered an "egg to the head", he said.

Mr Bamford said Kiriona could not be guilty of aggravated robbery as nothing was stolen but for half an ounce of cannabis.

"The wallet was still there, the pills were still there, the money was still there. "It is quite clear people are covering up things."

He asked the jury not put any unfair weight on the speculation that the defendants were associated with the Mongrel Mob.

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"If they were directed by the Mongrel Mob to do a hit, to go out in barefoot or jandals doesn't make sense."

Tuwhare Pui's defence counsel Steve Zindel said: "Mr Mischeski seemed to have his fingers in quite a few pies".

Mr Mischeski was a "tough, angry person" and his belligerence could be seen in his attitude towards the lawyers in the trial.

He added Mr Mischeski gave an inconsistent account of the incident to police, for example, which was clearly an attempt to "cover up" dubious activity, he said.

Ultimately, to go on a property to perform a hit in bare feet just to steal half an ounce of cannabis "did not ring true", he said.

The trial of the four men was expected to finish today.

- The Nelson Mail

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