The police have dropped all charges against two men who were accused of being part of any armed robbery gang operating around Christchurch, citing not enough evidence.
The withdrawals leave just one man facing charges in relation to the series of raids during March and April – Crete Campaign Wikotu, 38 – who denies the charges and has been remanded in custody for a Crown case review hearing on October 9.
Three charges against Houlyo Steven Regan, 35, and Lucas Lynch, 18, were withdrawn today at the request of the Crown.
Prosecutor Sean Mallett told Christchurch District Court Judge Tony Couch that the Crown had reviewed the files. He said he had spoken to the Crown solicitor and the police officer in charge of the case and it had been decided there was not “evidential sufficiency” to continue with the charges.
He asked the judge to withdraw the charges rather than dismiss them so that the police could consider re-laying them if further evidence came to light.
Judge Couch withdrew the charges and told both men they were free to go.
Robberies by an armed gang took place at Fresh Choice Edgeware, Burger King Shirley, Countdown Northlands, Z Energy Carlton Corner, Kiwibank-Postshop Tower Junction, and Liquorland Fitzgerald Ave.