Charge dropped over city squatters’ pad

May 6, 2016 | By More

Road cones-red zoneA charge of setting fire to a squatters’ pad in central Christchurch has been dropped by the Crown.

Steven Christopher James Rolton, 40, was charged with the arson of the property in the early hours of December 21, but entered a not guilty plea at a Christchurch District Court court appearance in January.

When the case came before Judge Jane Farish at a pre-trial call-over today, prosecutor Claire Boshier said the Crown was dropping the charge and the judge discharged Rolton.

Squatters were staying in the earthquake damaged and abandoned property in Worcester Street when the fire broke out in the early morning of December 21.

All escaped without injury, but both storeys of the house, which was originally divided into four flats, were charred. Smoke blew across the city, and five fire crews from across Christchurch battled the blaze.

It is understood the charge was dropped when a claimed eye-witness refused to make a further statement to the police.

 

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