Accused "wasn't there"

01:02, Jul 26 2013
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: A security camera shot of a man who allegedly stole a charity box from a Nelson Bakery.

A man accused of stealing charity boxes and tip jars from businesses around Nelson has pleaded not guilty in the Nelson District Court, despite police saying they have evidence which puts him at the scene.

Unemployed Nelson man Jason Peter Rochford, 27, was led to the dock from police custody yesterday, where he denied five counts of shoplifting and one charge of burglary.

Rochford’s partner, who is pregnant, was in the gallery.

Mr Rochford is accused of stealing charity boxes from small businesses around Nelson, including a collection box for children’s charity Variety that was taken from The Baker’s Inn on Waimea Rd in broad daylight on July 1.

Defence lawyer Wayne Jones, acting on behalf of Steven Zindel, had asked Judge Tony Zohrab for a three week remand so full disclosure of evidence against Rochford could be considered.

Mr Jones accepted that police had disclosed still CCTV images which put Rochford at the scene, but said his client wanted to see the video footage too.


‘‘He says that he wasn’t there,’’ Mr Jones said.

Prosecutor Chris Stringer said police had given initial disclosure, and did not have to hand over any more evidence before Rochford entered a plea.

Judge Zohrab agreed with Mr Stringer, saying Rochford knew if he was there or if he wasn’t, and that he shouldn’t need to see the footage to help him reach a plea.

He said the police believed they had a very strong case against Rochford.

Rochford took advice from Mr Jones before pleading not guilty and electing a trial by jury.

Judge Zohrab considered bail, but with Rochford’s long list of previous convictions he was not confident that he would observe bail conditions, he said.

He was remanded in custody until September 17 when his case will be reviewed.