A Hawera woman was about to be jailed for about $10,000 in unpaid fines and failing to attend community work when she allegedly car-jacked a BMW car in central New Plymouth.
In the New Plymouth District Court Shannon Reenay Thompson, 32, listed as a mother in court documents, denied the aggravated robbery in Vivian St about 1pm on May 10 last year.
The Crown said Thompson and Joel Jonothan Broughton, 34, unemployed, had acted jointly to rob Cassandra Denholm-Osbourne of a 1992 BMW sedan.
Broughton was jailed for 18 months when he pleaded guilty on Wednesday before the start of the trial.
Yesterday, Thompson gave evidence in her defence, saying she believed she was entitled to take the car because no-one had changed the ownership papers and one of the successive owners - she did not know who - had racked up fines and penalties of more than $600.
Because the car was still registered in her name, she was receiving the infringements in the mail.
She said she gave the car, which she owned for about three weeks, to her niece in about September 2011 on the understanding she paid a garage bill and changed the ownership.
But her niece never did so, telling her aunt she sold the car to the Hawera Black Power who then sold it to a Nomad who then passed it on to another Nomad, Wayne "Face" Rimene, of Bell Block, who then sold it to Derek Daly, of Warea, who was Ms Denholm-Osbourne's partner.
Thompson said she and Broughton went to visit Mr Rimene, telling him to get the car re-registered in the new owner's name and get the fines paid.
"I told him I want that car taken out from under my name."
Rimene told them that it had been "chopped up" but she did not believe him.
Thompson said she warned Rimene that if ownership wasn't changed and she saw the car she would take it back.
Mr Rimene, called by the Crown to give evidence yesterday morning, said he recalled Broughton and Thompson visiting him at his home on a day "club members" were meeting there to decide whether to dissolve the club.
Judge Allan Roberts asked Mr Rimene if this had happened and Mr Rimene replied that members were unable to come to a decision.
Mr Rimene recalled that Thompson and Broughton had arrived at his home after taking the car.
From the witness box, Thompson said she had never touched Ms Denholm-Osbourne and never got out of her car.
"The girl" [Ms Denholm-Osbourne] was lying when she said Thompson had grabbed her out of the car in Vivian St, had her around the neck pushing her up against a wall.
Broughton had taken the keys off her and driven off in the BMW, Thompson said.
She admitted she did ask Ms Denholm-Osbourne for money.
"If she'd given me what she had [money] I would probably have left it there.
"It's like pushing s... up hill with those fullas.
"She told me just take the car."
Thompson said later that day she and Broughton went back to Rimene's home.
"He told me I had to take the car back because I was causing ripples amongst the boys," Thompson said.
"He told me if I didn't return the car the girl was going to go to the cops and say I hit her."
During cross-examination from Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich, Thompson agreed she had not changed the ownership when she gave the car to her niece.
Mr Marinovich said Thompson was concerned at the time because she had a large amount of outstanding fines and was facing jail.
Thompson estimated there was about $10,000 she owed in fines at the time.
"That's why you asked [Cassandra] for $5000," Mr Marinovich said.
"I didn't ask her for $5000," Thompson replied.
"I was told it was inevitable that I was going to jail because I didn't go to PD [periodic detention]."
The trial is expected to finish today.
- © Fairfax NZ News
What do you think of the NPDC's decision not to give iwi representation and voting rights?Related story: Dismay as iwi voting rights denied