Christchurch thefts act of 'brainless' people

ACCUSED OF THEFT: Owen Jackson has been remanded  in custody.
ACCUSED OF THEFT: Owen Jackson has been remanded in custody.

Christchurch doesn't need "this extra aggravation from brainless people", a makeshift court was told yesterday.

The accused responded with raised middle-finger salutes.

The two Christchurch men have been charged with stealing emergency generators – essential, even life-saving equipment – in the aftermath of an earthquake.

ACCUSED: Jed Wilson-Calver has been remanded  in custody.
ACCUSED: Jed Wilson-Calver has been remanded in custody.

The men were arrested on Thursday night and charged with the joint theft of three emergency generators from the earthquake-shattered central city.

"What would possess someone to do that? ... you know there are people dying around us," Judge Michael Crosbie asked.

The men face a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

Fisherman Owen Anthony Jackson, 23, and his co-accused, unemployed man Jed Wilson-Calver, 22, raised their middle fingers to the court after Judge Crosbie denied them bail.

Yesterday's court hearing was hastily arranged in the line-up room at Christchurch Central police station.

The court was told that the men allegedly stole three emergency generators responsible for powering "essential communications supply" for about 1500 people.

The generators were worth $6000 each and had been donated to the earthquake rescue effort by TelstraClear. They have since been recovered and are now operational.

One of the accused, Jackson, had apologised to police after he was arrested, Judge Crosbie said.

"You said you were sorry. It was a stupid thing to do.

"This was essential equipment you took after we had an earthquake. What would possess someone to do that? The community would be concerned by your actions.

"Despite everything going on, there is food, there is water, there is shelter. People do not need to resort to crime. These are extraordinary times. Those who burgle, loot, steal, impersonate officials at these times demonstrate they are capable of anything."

Judge Crosbie denied both men bail and remanded them in custody until March 28.

Detective Superintendent Peter Read said the alleged actions of the men were disgraceful.

"It's not only insulting to the Canterbury public, of which they are supposed to be a part of, but it's also hindering the recovery operation and the emergency services.

"Everyone's hurting, they don't actually need this extra aggravation from brainless people."

Ten other people appeared at yesterday's special court hearing on a range of charges, including burglary, theft and being in the cordon area without excuse.

The Dominion Post