Jury begins deliberations in bar robbery trial

Sideline Bar-2013-03A jury retired at 11.05am to consider its verdicts in the Christchurch District Court trial of two men alleged to be the armed robbers who were wearing balaclavas as they raided the Sideline sports bar.

It is the fifth day of the trial of Dallas Edwards, 25, and Jackson Manson, 23, who deny being the men who carried out the robbery as the bar in Stanmore Road was closing on November 7, 2012.

The robbers got away in a car afterwards but the Crown says a series of circumstances point to Edwards and Manson being the men involved.

Judge Paul Kellar summed up the case today, telling the jury that there was no need for the Crown to prove beyond reasonable doubt every circumstance that it relied on. It needed to “reliably prove” the circumstances.

He quoted from a judge’s comments in an 1886 case which said the circumstantial evidence should not be considered as a chain, where a broken link would break the connection, but as the strands of a rope which provided strength when they were combined.

Judge Kellar said: “A circumstantial case derives its force from a number of factors that independently point to the guilt of a defendant. Essentially, it says that a defendant is guilty, or is the victim of an implausible series of coincidences.”

Identity is the basis of the defence. The two defendants say they were not the masked robbers holding a rifle and a pistol shown in security footage at the bar.

The jury has been shown 40 exhibits, including a pistol found wrapped in a balaclava in Manson’s car three weeks after the robbery, during the Crown’s presentation of its case.

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