Man admits robbing Woolston bank

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 11:23 18/10/2012

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Possible mental health issues have been cited in the case of a man who admitted robbing a Woolston bank with fake explosives.

Timothy Daniel Whelan, a 22-year-old unemployed Parklands man, pleaded guilty at a Christchurch District Court session at Nga Hau e Wha marae in Aranui today.

Police said he went to the Woolston ANZ bank on September 24 "armed with something appearing to be an offensive weapon, a bomb and detonator" and robbed a teller of cash.

He made no attempt to disguise or cover his face and he was approached by police a few days later after the bank's security photographs were released to the media.

Defence counsel Michael Starling said initial psychological screening did not indicate Whelan had a defence to the charge, but did indicate mitigating factors that could bring the sentence within the two-year range of home detention.

He asked for bail pending sentence, because it was a first offence and because of Whelan's possible mental health issues.

Police had not opposed bail and he had already been released from custody at his last court appearance on October 9.

Judge Brian Callaghan granted bail and remanded him for a Crown sentencing on January 23.

He asked for the pre-sentence report to consider Whelan's suitability for home detention, but said that there were no promises that he would avoid a jail term.

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- The Press

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