The Crown says its case is “overwhelming” against two men with Mongrel Mob patches who allegedly carried out an armed robbery seeking drugs and money at a Sydenham house.
But the defence says their identity is in question, and the jury has been asked to keep an open mind until all the evidence is heard in the week-long trial in the Christchurch District Court.
Petuera Clarke, 32, and Levi Adam Bartlett, 31, both deny the aggravated robbery charge, and Clarke also denies charges of unlawful possession of a shotgun and ammunition.
Counsel for Bartlett, Nikita Mitskevitch, said in the defence opening statement that Bartlett denied being involved in the offending and the issue would be whether the Crown could satisfy the jury that he did take part.
Crown prosecutor Sean Mallett said the incident took place at 2.50pm on June 4, 2018, when a man was visiting a friend’s address in Sydenham. When there was a knock at the door, the friend opened the door to find two men with Mongrel Mob patches standing there, armed with a hammer and a shotgun.
He tried to shut the door but they pushed their way in. The friend made his escape, but the intruders went into the lounge where the visitor was sitting.
The Crown says one of them struck him with the hammer four or five times on the face, head, and collarbone, and he was struck on the back of the head with the butt of the shotgun.
The man received a broken nose, a gash to the wrist, and injuries to his face and lip which needed stitches.
They demanded drugs and money, but when there were none, they took his jacket, car keys, watch, and cellphone and left with a Sony speaker and laptop computer from the address.
One of the men was seen getting into a red station wagon nearby, and the witness phoned 111 and gave the registration plate details to the police.
The car was registered to Clarke and 30 minutes after the home invasion, the police arrived at his address in nearby Huxley Street. Clarke was arrested as he allegedly tried to flee through the rear of the property.
He said only his “missus” was inside, but Bartlett was found hiding behind a shower curtain in the bathroom.
The robbery victim’s car keys were found in Bartlett’s pocket.
The red station wagon was found in the garage with its bonnet still warm and dripping water from the rain. A shotgun matching the description of the one used in the robbery was found in the passenger footwell with four live rounds.
Inside the house were the stolen laptop and speaker, the victim’s watch, and also a hammer matching the description of the one used in the robbery.
Clothing with Mongrel Mob insignia was found at the address.
Clarke’s fingerprints were found on the laptop, and Bartlett’s fingerprints were found in the station wagon. Bartlett told police he had found the car keys on the ground.
“The case against the defendants is overwhelming,” said Mr Mallett.
The trial is continuing.