A former employee whose alarm code was used to open an auto repair business on the night it burnt down in an alleged arson has referred to the code's use as a "set-up".
John Patrick Weir, the former workshop manager at the Auto Repair Centre in Byron St, Sydenham, told Christchurch District Court he had heard his code had been used.
Business owners Kishor Singh, 56, and Ajeshni Healy, 33, are charged with the arson on September 27, 2008.
During cross-examination by defence counsel Pip Hall, Weir insisted his employer had known his code.
He said he told Healy his code.
He believed the only people who knew his code were himself, his employer, and possibly people at the alarm company.
When he learnt his access code had been used on the night of the fire, "I thought that would be the sort of thing they would do, that would be my opinion".
"It would not surprise me, fancy trying to set me up."
Weir left the business the day before the fire.
Hall pointed out he had gained customers as a result of the fire.
However, Weir said yesterday he had thought he would eventually be able to take over the business, and move in there.
"What would I have to gain from it [the fire]?" he asked.
The fire had also affected one of his friends, Austin Cole, who owned the building.
Weir had told the court that on the night of the fire, which was reported at 11.12pm, he had been with his wife and children at a barbecue in Rolleston.
He had left Rolleston and gone home between 10.20pm and 10.30pm. He had then fallen asleep in front of the television while watching sport.
Questioned by Hall, he said his house was about a five-minute drive from the Byron St premises.
The Crown, with Claire Boshier prosecuting, alleges Singh and Healy left a central city bar and lit the fire at a time when the auto repair business was struggling financially.
Weir's wife, Michelle Maria Weir, later gave evidence of the family going to dinner at a friend's house in Rolleston on the night of the fire, and leaving for home about 10pm.
The drive home to Cashmere took about 25min.
She left Weir lying on the couch watching television and went to bed.
She was not aware of him coming to bed later, but she said she was a light sleeper and did not hear his Toyota Hilux Surf start up during the night.
She did not hear anyone enter or leave the house.
The trial continues before Judge Alistair Garland.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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