Brickworks robbery 'unsophisticated'

Wesley Winfield Barnett's $26,000 armed robbery of the Brickworks Restaurant in Christchurch was seen as unsophisticated.

Barnett, 43, was armed with an imitation firearm, though he acknowledges he knew his fellow robber had a real one.

He has a distinctive and solid build and recognisable facial tattoos. His disguise consisted of pulling his T-shirt up over his face.

When the loot had been taken, the robbers tried unsuccessfully to tie up the three victims with duct tape.

Barnett had no knife and was trying to bite the tape, which would have left excellent traces of his DNA from his saliva.

When he was caught and interviewed by the police, the DVD recorded him giving his version of events, though he was careful not to implicate any co-offenders.

He pleaded guilty to the robbery charge and possession of methamphetamine and appeared for sentence in the Christchurch District Court today.

Judge Jane Farish jailed him for 6-1/2 years, but ordered no reparation payment because she believed it was futile.

Some cash was found in a safe belonging to someone else, and the Crown may seek to confiscate that in another hearing.

Three men were arrested for the April 6 late-night robbery, in which Barnett was the second person to enter the premises.

His alleged co-offenders are pleading not guilty and have a case review hearing set for September.

Two bar staff were forced to the floor by the first robber to go inside, and a cleaner was assaulted with the rifle butt, and kicked by him, causing an ongoing injury.

Barnett's defence counsel, Tony Garrett, accepted that any assertion that Barnett was forced into the offending would carry little weight, and he did not raise it as a mitigating factor.

"In reality, what that means is that if you are actively involved in running with people of that ilk, there are consequences that flow," Garrett said.

Judge Farish said it had not been an overly sophisticated robbery. She had the impression that Barnett had started using far too much methamphetamine in the three months leading up to the incident.

He was found in possession of the drug when he was arrested.

"It is really your drug use that has put you in this position," she said.

The Press