Quick release for woman who helped armed robber

Court House-general2A judge has decided that nine months in custody on remand is long enough for a woman who helped her partner after his armed robbery of a Christchurch tavern.

Nikita Chela McCausland, 26, of central Christchurch has been looking after her young daughter in prison with her while she has been held in custody since January.

She was arrested soon after the January 26 robbery of Coasters Tavern in Redwood, where one of the intruders armed with a shotgun was her partner, Jackson Whakatihi, 24, also known as Manson.

Whakatihi has since pleaded guilty and is due for sentence on December 8 in the Christchurch District Court.

McCausland had admitted charges of being an accessory after the fact to the armed robbery, and a joint charge with Whakatihi of unlawful possession of the shotgun.

Two days after the robbery, McCausland was in a car with Whakatihi and their daughter when it was stopped by the police. Items found in the car linked Whakatihi to the robbery, and at their home the police found the shotgun in the garage and some of the missing cash. Some was found in a plastic container with McCausland’s fingerprints on it. The robbers got away with $15,000 in the raid.

Judge Farish said McCausland had a lengthy list of convictions but had been working to turning her life around and get away from alcohol and drugs before this offending had occurred.

She accepted that McCausland had not known the robbery was to take place, and was only involved because Whakatihi was her partner.

The judge imposed a 16-month jail term which meant McCausland’s immediate release because of the time she has already served on remand. She will have to abide by release conditions for six more months, including notifying probation of her work arrangements, undertaking education and job training, and attending counselling.

She will soon travel south to visit family, and will then go to live in Tauranga to care for her mother, who is ill.

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