Acquittal in smash-grab burglary
A New Plymouth jury has found a man not guilty of helping plan the $6000 smash-and-grab burglary of Westbar and Cafe.
Joshua Ian Paul, 31, unemployed, was charged with being a party to the burglary of the Westown bar about 3.30am on June 6.
The jury took two hours before returning their verdict yesterday finding Paul not guilty following a two-day trial in the New Plymouth District Court.
One of the burglars, Adam Morehu, was shot dead by police two days later following the burglary and trashing of the Ngamotu golf club.
The shooting remains under investigation.
Paul was arrested during Operation Ngamotu, set up after the shooting to look into the series of burglaries Morehu had been involved in.
Police believed a trail of texts between Morehu's best mate, Dwayne Ingram, Morehu and Paul showed Paul's involvement in the Westbar burglary.
Ingram pleaded guilty last year to the Westbar burglary which netted Morehu and Ingram $6000.
Ingram gave evidence for the Crown during Paul's trial.
Ingram told the jury that Paul, whose girlfriend worked at Westbar, gave him the layout of the bar and told him where the money was kept.
Paul had asked for a cut of half a gram of methamphetamine as payment for the information, Ingram said.
But when Paul gave evidence to the jury in his own defence he said the "half g" he asked for in a text to Ingram was the $400-$500 payment he wanted for a Ford car Morehu was to buy from him.
And the text he sent to Ingram after the burglary asking what was his cut had only been him "taking the piss", Paul said.
Ingram, who is serving a 21-month jail sentence for the burglary of Westbar and New Plymouth's Mag and Tyres, revealed to the jury he had received an eight-
month reduction to his jail sentence for giving information to police.
Further jury trials are to be held this year for other men charged with the series of New Plymouth burglaries Morehu was also involved with.
The most serious of those was the armed robbery of the Treehouse Bar & Restaurant early on Christmas Day in 2012.
Taranaki Daily News