Police dog ensures witness attends trial

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 16:45 23/09/2013

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An armed robbery trial witness appeared at court bloodied and bandaged after a police dog had ensured he would attend at the Christchurch Court House.

"I don't want to be here, eh?" said Rau Tongia, at the trial of two men charged with the armed robbery of the Sideline Sports Bar in Stanmore Road on November 7, 2012.

Crown prosecutor Kathy Bell asked him: "It would be fair to say that a police dog may have had some involvement in getting your attendance here at court?

Tongia replied: "Looks like it, yes."

He had bandages on his arms and hands, and many blood spots on his clothing.

He also said he did not want to say anything that would incriminate himself.

Dallas Edwards, 25, and Jackson Manson, 23, are on trial for the armed robbery of the bar, with the Crown alleging they climbed over a rear wall at closing time, armed with a sawn-off shotgun and pistol, and got away in a white car with $4545 of takings from the bar and poker machines.

They deny the charges. It is the third day of the trial.

Tongia said that on the night of the robbery he had been at home at his partner's house. It had been benefit day so he had been out for a meal and gambling earlier in the evening.

He said he had been visited at the house by people the next day, but could not recall who it was.

A car registration plate found lying near the scene of the robbery had his fingerprint on it. He said it was one that had previously been in the boot of a car he used, when he moved some items around. He would not say what vehicle it was.

Questioned by defence counsel for Manson, Tim Fournier, Tongia claimed privilege and would not answer questions about whether he had gone in a white car with Edwards on the afternoon or evening of the robbery.

Sandra Tipene, the partner of Edwards at the time, told the trial that Edwards had borrowed her white Subaru car on the afternoon of the robbery and she had been angry that he did not come home that night.

The next day Edwards had paid for taxis to go shopping and pick up her car. He had paid for clothing they had bought at shops in Westfield, Riccarton, and Amazon at Hornby.

Cross-examined by his defence counsel, Lee Lee Heah, she agreed that Edwards was "pretty good on the pokies" and had sometimes won quite a bit of money which included coins.

Sometimes he would get electronic items as presents and would sell them to his mates, she said. It was not the first time he had taken her shopping and had bought her items.

A police officer gave evidence of finding a black pistol wrapped inside a balaclava when Manson's car was searched three weeks after the robbery.

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The Crown completed its case late this afternoon. Defence counsel will announce on Tuesday whether they will be calling evidence.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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