Crown cites links in pub robbery trial

Sideline Bar-2013-04Armed men who robbed the Sideline Bar left behind a palm print when they climbed over a wall, and a false car number plate that apparently fell off in the carpark, says the Crown.

Prosecutor Sara Jamieson told the Christchurch District Court jury that the false number plate – apparently held on to the getaway car with black cable ties – also provided a link to the robbers who had been armed with a rifle and a pistol.

The robbers got away with $4545 from poker machines and bar takings when they raided the bar in Stanmore Road, Richmond, as it closed at 11pm on November 7, 2012.

Miss Jamieson said the Crown would present a circumstantial case against the two men who have gone on trial charged with aggravated robbery, Dallas Edwards, aged 25, and Jackson Manson, aged 23.

They are denying the joint robbery charge at the five-day trial before Judge Paul Kellar and a jury.

Lee Lee Heah appears for Edwards, and Tim Fournier appears for Manson.

Miss Jamieson said security footage would show the robbers dropping into view over a wall into the garden bar as the pub was closing. Police found a palm print on the wall which was matched to Edwards.

The robbers had their faces disguised and were carrying a rifle and a pistol.

One stayed with the four remaining bar patrons and one staff member while the one holding the pistol forced a second woman staff member to open the safe in the kitchen and hand over the takings which had been placed into plastic bank bags.

As the woman let the robbers out the back door, she saw a white car in the carpark and heard an engine running. She thought it was a Subaru.

Next day police found a number plate in the carpark. It had black plastic cable ties attached to it.

The plate had been taken off when the car was sold to a wrecker, a few months before. The plates had been kept on the shelf of a barbecue. The woman who owned them was the sister of Edwards’ partner at the time. The plates were gone from the barbecue.

When the palm print from the wall was identified, Edwards was arrested two days after the robbery.

New items of clothing were found at his home in Linwood. The Crown would say that Edwards and his partner made a series of purchases at a shop in Westfield Mall, using coins taken from plastic bank bags for some of the transactions. Edwards had a plastic coin bag on him when he was arrested.

When the partner’s white Subaru car was examined, police found its correct number plate was held on with black plastic cable ties and a bag of them was found in the boot. Three plastic coin bags with $127 in coins were found in the car.

The Crown said that phone records indicated that Edwards and Manson were in regular contact in the days leading up to the robbery and were together that night. Calls for taxis indicated that they were Manson’s house in Dallington in the hours after the robbery.

Manson was caught on December 10 after a police pursuit in a car registered to his partner. Inside the car, police found a black balaclava wrapped around a pistol.

Miss Jamieson said the evidence was circumstantial but the Crown said that when the evidence was viewed together the jury could be sure that the two accused were the robbers.

For Edwards, Miss Heah to the jury that the Crown had to prove its case to the very high standard of beyond reasonable doubt. “Speculation, guesswork, and suspicion – none of these have any place in a criminal jury trial,” she said.

The trial is continuing.

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