Firearm found in robbery investigation

Police car-Sept2013-03Police executing a search warrant in Christchurch during the investigation into two armed robberies of bars on Sunday night have now found a firearm.

A 25-year-old woman now facing a charge of receiving $3500 cash from the man charged with the robberies was alleged to have care of the weapon, police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Scott told the Christchurch District Court today.

The woman’s appearance in court has been delayed to this afternoon for police to continue inquiries and possibly lay further charges.

The man charged with an armed robbery and an assault on Sunday night has been remanded in custody during a brief appearance at court.

Jackson Whakatihi’s arrest arose from the police investigation into the shotgun robberies of The Brewery, at The Tannery precinct in Woolston, which took place about 11pm, just over an hour after a pair of armed men stole cash from the Coasters Tavern in Redwood.

Whakatihi, 24, also known as Jackson Manson,  is listed as having no fixed abode in central Christchurch.

He is charged that along with “an unknown person”, and being armed with a shotgun, he robbed a man of about $15,000 cash.

He is also charged, again with “an unknown person”, and being armed with a shotgun, he assaulted a man with intent to rob a woman.

Police say the alleged victim – a friend of a staff member – was assaulted when he refused to lie on the ground during the robbery at The Brewery. He received treatment at Christchurch Hospital and was discharged on Monday.

The bar owner said the offenders were unable to gain access to the business’ safe and fled without any cash.

Police are continuing inquiries into similar incidents at The Brewers Arms at Merivale and The Craic in Riccarton, just before Christmas, when masked offenders with guns entered the bars and demanded money from staff.

Whakatihi is also charged with receiving a stolen wallet and Samoan passport, and possession of cannabis.

He has entered no pleas to any of the charges.

Duty lawyer Grant Tyrrell today asked for the remand and said Whakatihi was not making application for bail.

Judge Alistair Garland remanded Whakatihi in custody to February 13 for an appearance by video-link from the prison, for a legal aid application and for an application to be prepared for his release on bail.

Later in the day, Nikita Chela McCausland of central Christchurch, who is Whakatihi’s partner and the mother of a five-month old baby, appeared in court jointly charged with Whakatihi with unlawful possession of the sawn-off shotgun.

She was charged with possession of the weapon except for some lawful, proper, and sufficent purpose, and was charged with receiving $3500 cash from Whakatihi – also known as Jackson Manson – knowing that the money had been stolen.

She was also charged with driving on Worcester Street while her licence was suspended .

McCausland entered no plea and was tearful when bail was refused by Judge Garland and she was remanded in custody to February 17.

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