A 43-year-old man has admitted the gunpoint robbery of the Brickworks Restaurant and Bar three weeks ago.
Wesley Winfield Barnett pleaded guilty to charges in the Christchurch District Court of the armed robbery in the early hours of Sunday April 6, and possession of methamphetamine.
He has been in custody since his arrest the day after the robbery, and he will remain in custody pending sentencing on July 30 at a Crown session.
Judge John Macdonald gave him a first-strike warning today under the legislation that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders.
Defence counsel Tony Garrett said Barnett disputed a 1992 conviction for aggravated robbery on his criminal record print-out which was handed to the judge. Barnett claimed he had been acquitted on that charge, and it was recorded wrongly on the record.
Three men were arrested for the robbery of the bar on Centaurus Road after police searched properties in Riccarton, Barrington, and Linwood on April 7. The other two men are being dealt with separately.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Iain Patton said Barnett and another man disguised with scarves over their faces and armed with firearms hid in bushes outside the bar’s front entrance after midnight on April 6.
The other man then entered the bar after it had closed and pointed a firearm at two staff. Staff were forced to lie on the floor and empty the contents of the office safe into a backpack. More than $1000 was taken, including the weekend’s takings and poker machine floats.
When a cleaner arrived, the other man pushed him in the chest with the firearm, threatened to shoot him, and struck him with the butt of the firearm. Barnett then came into the office area and kicked the cleaner in the upper body and presented his firearm at him.
The robbers had black duct tape and said they was going to tape-up the victims, but they gave up that idea when Barnett could not bite the tape.
They told the victims to wait for five minutes because they would be waiting outside.
Barnett and a third man went to a Sydenham address where the cash and Barnett’s clothing were left. Barnett was arrested when police executed a search warrant at a Riccarton motel. A gram of methamphetamine was found in a plastic bag in his wallet. He admitted taking part in the robbery.
Sergeant Patton said the cleaner was treated for a strained shoulder and back. The other two victims inside the bar were shaken but not hurt.
- The Press