Bar's patrons 'resisted' armed robbery

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 12:08 19/09/2013

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Small episodes of bravery and resistance among bar patrons and staff in the face of masked and armed raiders have emerged from evidence in the trial over the robbery of the Sideline Bar.

Robbers, armed with a rifle and a pistol and wearing balaclavas, took $4545 in cash, packed in plastic banking bags, from bar takings and gaming machines.

By the time they ran to a getaway car in the car park in Stanmore Rd soon after 11pm last November 7, resistance had set in among the four customers and the two hotel staff still present.

Dallas Edwards, 25, and Jackson Manson, 23, face a joint charge of aggravated robbery.

The trial, before Judge Paul Kellar and a jury in the Christchurch District Court, is in the second of the five days.

The scene inside the pub during the 10-minute robbery has been described by some of those held at gunpoint.

Sam Joseph Craigie was at the pub with his partner.

When two armed men came in at closing time and the robbery began, he stepped in front of his partner, and the surveillance video shows him staying there in the face of the robbers.

"There was some colourful language," he told the court.

"They said, 'Don't go into your pockets for your cellphone or I'll shoot you'."

When a robber ordered bartender Alesha Jennifer McConnell - he called her "Pretty Face" - to let them out the back door, bar manager Doris Cecillia Rocca stepped in.

She said she was the one with the key, and she went with them to let them out to the car park.

A customer named Baldy wanted to chase the robbers when they made their getaway in a waiting car, but Rocca talked him out of it. She pointed out that they had guns.

Rocca wanted to confirm her suspicion that beneath the balaclavas, the robbers were Maori or Pacific Islanders.

As they walked past her to leave, she said, "Ka pai".

She believed it meant "thank you", and she was thanking them for letting her go and not hurting anyone.

She wanted to see if they would respond, and one of them did, although she did not understand what he said.

The trial continued with evidence about a car number plate with black plastic cable ties attached being found in North Avon Rd near the exit from the pub car park.

The Crown says the number plate had belonged to the sister of Edwards' partner.

The court was told about Edwards having a plastic coin bag in the pocket of the shorts he was wearing when he was arrested two days after the robbery.

The trial is continuing.

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- The Press

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