Texts were a joke, says accused

A man police say was involved in planning the Westbar and Cafe burglary in New Plymouth says text messages asking one of the burglars what his cut was were only "taking the piss".

Joshua Ian Paul, 31, denies he was party to the burglary, a 20 second smash and grab early on June 6 which netted Dwayne Ingram and Adam Morehu $6000.

Morehu was shot dead by police early on June 8 following a burglary at Ngamotu golf club.

In the second day of his trial in the New Plymouth District Court, Paul gave evidence in his own defence.

He said he had put two and two together when he heard of the burglary the next day but denied being involved in the planning or knowing there would be a burglary.

Paul said he did not tell Ingram or Morehu, both of whom he saw at his home in the days before the burglary, the layout of the bar where his girlfriend worked, as the Crown alleged.

He said potentially incriminating text messages he sent to Ingram after the burglary, asking what his cut was, were him just "taking the piss".

His only connection with the men was their mutual interest in cars. Morehu came around to his home in Spotswood - the first time he had done so - with his partner looking to buy his Falcon the day before he died.

In closing his case, Paul's lawyer, Julian Hannam, said the Crown was relying on text messaging after the burglary and "a stool pigeon [Ingram] selling an associate down the road the way he has".

Earlier, Ingram, imprisoned for 21 months last year after pleading guilty to the both Westbar burglary and of Mag and Tyre Direct continued his evidence against Paul.

Ingram said he texted Morehu that Paul wanted half a gram of methamphetamine as his cut as well as his bill wiped.

Ingram said he and Morehu decided that Paul, whom he called "that greedy craker", would not get a cut because he was greedy and owed them money.

Ingram, arrested on June 21, said he volunteered the information to police that Paul provided him with the inside knowledge of the bar and where the money was kept.

"Josh told me, I told the bros," Ingram had said.

He agreed he was pleased to be given about 8 months off his sentence for the information he provided to police.

"But I'm still in jail."

Ingram said his and Morehu's lives at the time were very much out of control prior to Morehu's death.

And it was Morehu's death, Ingram's arrest and subsequent co-operation with police that marked the turning point in Ingram's life, Mr Hannam said.

"Yes. I don't want to end up like that," Ingram replied.

He had only recalled Paul drawing a diagram of Westbar in the dust on the floor at his home "after the drugs wore off and I was in jail for a while".

Ingram admitted he was a long-standing user of methamphetamine and cannabis and was selling meth to Paul. He had used meth with Paul, smoking a pipe with him in his shed several times and used meth with Morehu.

Judge Allan Roberts will sum up the case on Monday before the jury retires to consider its verdict.

Taranaki Daily News