Guilty verdict in tinny house robbery trial

After a short retirement, a jury convicted Rory Manuel of the armed robbery of a tinny house in which a man was shot in the neck.

After giving its verdict with less than an hour of deliberations, the jury was told about Manuel’s significant criminal history.

The Christchurch District Court trial before Judge Jane Farish began on Wednesday, and as it ended today she thanked the jury. “You have probably been exposed to a side of Canterbury life that you probably didn’t even know existed,” she said.

The judge remanded 34-year-old Manuel in custody for sentencing on July 25. She gave him a first strike warning and asked for a pre-sentence report.

She also asked Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett for a copy of Manuel’s criminal history before reading it and telling the jurors: “He is someone who is no stranger to violence unfortunately.”

She said: “You are entitled to know that in recent times, Mr Manuel has been involved with methamphetamine, and that appears to have driven some of his most recent offending.

“He has a history that includes wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assault with a weapon, assault, and injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.”

The trial was told that two intruders – Manuel was the only one police identified and charged – burst into a house in Bryndwr about 2am, one of them holding a sawn-off shotgun.

The intruders said they wanted “money, drugs, and valuables” and scoured the property before gathering up items, and then moving furniture. At that stage the gun went off, hitting one of the occupants in the neck and shoulder.

The trial heard evidence that there had been cannabis dealing from the house that evening, and the three occupants had bought methamphetamine and smoked it.

Manuel had denied the charge of causing grievous bodily harm during an armed robbery.

Tim Fournier appeared as defence counsel for Manuel.

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