Man charged with burgling avocado orchards

Gisborne Courthouse. File picture by Rebecca Grunwell

ONE of four men allegedly involved in burgling avocado orchards around the district last year has pleaded guilty.

But a lawyer for one of his co-accused says he will raise the question of whether the men should have been charged with burglary or with a lesser offence of theft.

Brian Webby, counsel for Steven Mackey, 19, will argue the legal issues at a pre-trial hearing on April 18.

Mackey, 19, and Hamiora Tawaho Tiaki Raroa, 24, have been charged together with seven counts of burglary at
avocado orchards in Ferry Road, Ingram Road, Bushmere Road and Back Ormond Road.

They are also jointly charged with Mackey’s father Gene Steven Paul Mackey, 49, and a 17-year-old in relation to a Bushmere Road orchard.

The two Mackey men and Raroa appeared separately for case review hearings in Gisborne District Court this week.

Gene Mackey pleaded guilty to burglary of the Bushmere Road property, from which 1400 avocados were removed from trees, but later recovered.

He also pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis.

Counsel Mana Taumaunu told Judge Allan Roberts police had accepted there was no commercial element involved.
Mackey snr was further remanded on bail for report and sentence on May 4.

The matter was referred to the restorative justice process.

Raroa, like Mackey jnr, is still to enter pleas.

Raroa’s counsel Amanda Courtney sought a further adjournment until April 18 to await the outcome of Mr Webby’s legal argument, which Judge Roberts agreed would be significant for her client.

ONE of four men allegedly involved in burgling avocado orchards around the district last year has pleaded guilty.

But a lawyer for one of his co-accused says he will raise the question of whether the men should have been charged with burglary or with a lesser offence of theft.

Brian Webby, counsel for Steven Mackey, 19, will argue the legal issues at a pre-trial hearing on April 18.

Mackey, 19, and Hamiora Tawaho Tiaki Raroa, 24, have been charged together with seven counts of burglary at
avocado orchards in Ferry Road, Ingram Road, Bushmere Road and Back Ormond Road.

They are also jointly charged with Mackey’s father Gene Steven Paul Mackey, 49, and a 17-year-old in relation to a Bushmere Road orchard.

The two Mackey men and Raroa appeared separately for case review hearings in Gisborne District Court this week.

Gene Mackey pleaded guilty to burglary of the Bushmere Road property, from which 1400 avocados were removed from trees, but later recovered.

He also pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis.

Counsel Mana Taumaunu told Judge Allan Roberts police had accepted there was no commercial element involved.
Mackey snr was further remanded on bail for report and sentence on May 4.

The matter was referred to the restorative justice process.

Raroa, like Mackey jnr, is still to enter pleas.

Raroa’s counsel Amanda Courtney sought a further adjournment until April 18 to await the outcome of Mr Webby’s legal argument, which Judge Roberts agreed would be significant for her client.

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