Beaten, robbed in alleyway

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A man biking home after drinks to honour a mate’s death, was brutally beaten and robbed by two strangers in the Stanley Road footbridge alleyway, Gisborne District Court was told yesterday.

He ended up in Gisborne Hospital with serious facial injuries, including chipped teeth, a fractured nose and eye socket, with a 7cm gash under one of his eyes.

The Crown says Thomas Cassidy, 23, was one of the assailants and equally as culpable as his co-accused Pene Renata, 19, who admitted being involved.

A short jury trial of Cassidy began yesterday in the court and all evidence was heard. It is expected to finish with closing addresses today.

Cassidy, represented by counsel Alistair Clarke, denies two charges — aggravated robbery and injuring with intent to injure. He pleaded guilty ahead of the trial to a charge of possessing methamphetamine. A small amount was found when he was searched.

Cassidy said he was not involved in any offending

Giving evidence in his defence, Cassidy said he was not involved in any offending during the alleged incident at about 10pm on November 15 last year.

He claimed Renata alone beat and robbed the man.

Cassidy said that at one point he even tried to help the man by pulling Renata off him, but ultimately ran off scared and worried that if apprehended, his past record would see him blamed and the meth he was carrying would be found.

Crown witnesses included an ESR scientist, the complainant and a police officer, off duty at the time, who lived near the scene.

In evidence and under cross-examination, the complainant, aged 47, told the court he had about 10 handles of beer in the six hours before he began riding home from a bar in the industrial area.

The complainant was confronted by two men who stopped him while he was midway on the Stanley Road footbridge

Two men, one in white T-shirt, one in a black one — confronted him on the Stanley Road footbridge over the river as he was about halfway across it. They stood in front of him and blocked his path.

He could not recall what was said but it was brief. He got back on his bike and carried on cycling but heard a set of footsteps running behind him.

The next thing he knew he woke up badly injured in Gisborne Hospital. He had since made a full recovery.

His tobacco tin and cellphone were recovered but not his wallet.

The off-duty police officer said that he was alerted by his dog barking and looked out his bedroom window.

He noticed two men — one in a white T-shirt, one in a dark-coloured shirt — running from the alleyway at the Oak Street end of the Stanley Road bridge as if they were fleeing something. He could see them in the light of a street lamp.

An off-duty police officer heard groaning and found the injured cyclist

He heard groaning and went to investigate. He found the cyclist, who seemed dazed, but was able to give his details and said he had lost his wallet and smokes.

The officer and his wife, a nurse, stayed with the man until he was taken to hospital.

Police were called and the two men the off-duty officer had seen (Cassidy and Renata), were arrested soon afterward.

Cross-examined by Mr Clarke, the witness confirmed that from his house, he could not see the area where the cyclist lay and had not seen any actual incident.

He disagreed with Mr Clarke’s contention that, given the cyclist’s injuries, there must have been a lot of blood at the scene. There was not a remarkable amount, the officer said.

The ESR scientist said there was more blood on Cassidy’s shoes than Renata’s. In her opinion, it came from the shoes being close to the source of the blood.

In her opening address, prosecutor Megan Mitchell alleged Cassidy and Renata both kicked the cyclist in the head and face. Their shoes were covered in his blood, Ms Mitchell said.

When arrested nearby, they were both breathing heavily and sweating.

Cassidy said they were just hanging. Renata said they were out for a night stroll.

Key issues for the jury would be their assessment of the witnesses’ credibility, whether both men were involved in the robbery and whether Cassidy, like his co-accused, had kicked the man.

Judge Warren Cathcart is presiding.

A man biking home after drinks to honour a mate’s death, was brutally beaten and robbed by two strangers in the Stanley Road footbridge alleyway, Gisborne District Court was told yesterday.

He ended up in Gisborne Hospital with serious facial injuries, including chipped teeth, a fractured nose and eye socket, with a 7cm gash under one of his eyes.

The Crown says Thomas Cassidy, 23, was one of the assailants and equally as culpable as his co-accused Pene Renata, 19, who admitted being involved.

A short jury trial of Cassidy began yesterday in the court and all evidence was heard. It is expected to finish with closing addresses today.

Cassidy, represented by counsel Alistair Clarke, denies two charges — aggravated robbery and injuring with intent to injure. He pleaded guilty ahead of the trial to a charge of possessing methamphetamine. A small amount was found when he was searched.

Cassidy said he was not involved in any offending

Giving evidence in his defence, Cassidy said he was not involved in any offending during the alleged incident at about 10pm on November 15 last year.

He claimed Renata alone beat and robbed the man.

Cassidy said that at one point he even tried to help the man by pulling Renata off him, but ultimately ran off scared and worried that if apprehended, his past record would see him blamed and the meth he was carrying would be found.

Crown witnesses included an ESR scientist, the complainant and a police officer, off duty at the time, who lived near the scene.

In evidence and under cross-examination, the complainant, aged 47, told the court he had about 10 handles of beer in the six hours before he began riding home from a bar in the industrial area.

The complainant was confronted by two men who stopped him while he was midway on the Stanley Road footbridge

Two men, one in white T-shirt, one in a black one — confronted him on the Stanley Road footbridge over the river as he was about halfway across it. They stood in front of him and blocked his path.

He could not recall what was said but it was brief. He got back on his bike and carried on cycling but heard a set of footsteps running behind him.

The next thing he knew he woke up badly injured in Gisborne Hospital. He had since made a full recovery.

His tobacco tin and cellphone were recovered but not his wallet.

The off-duty police officer said that he was alerted by his dog barking and looked out his bedroom window.

He noticed two men — one in a white T-shirt, one in a dark-coloured shirt — running from the alleyway at the Oak Street end of the Stanley Road bridge as if they were fleeing something. He could see them in the light of a street lamp.

An off-duty police officer heard groaning and found the injured cyclist

He heard groaning and went to investigate. He found the cyclist, who seemed dazed, but was able to give his details and said he had lost his wallet and smokes.

The officer and his wife, a nurse, stayed with the man until he was taken to hospital.

Police were called and the two men the off-duty officer had seen (Cassidy and Renata), were arrested soon afterward.

Cross-examined by Mr Clarke, the witness confirmed that from his house, he could not see the area where the cyclist lay and had not seen any actual incident.

He disagreed with Mr Clarke’s contention that, given the cyclist’s injuries, there must have been a lot of blood at the scene. There was not a remarkable amount, the officer said.

The ESR scientist said there was more blood on Cassidy’s shoes than Renata’s. In her opinion, it came from the shoes being close to the source of the blood.

In her opening address, prosecutor Megan Mitchell alleged Cassidy and Renata both kicked the cyclist in the head and face. Their shoes were covered in his blood, Ms Mitchell said.

When arrested nearby, they were both breathing heavily and sweating.

Cassidy said they were just hanging. Renata said they were out for a night stroll.

Key issues for the jury would be their assessment of the witnesses’ credibility, whether both men were involved in the robbery and whether Cassidy, like his co-accused, had kicked the man.

Judge Warren Cathcart is presiding.

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