Arson accused: I wouldn’t say a lie

Saturday August 03, 2019 Written by Published in Crime
David Tonorio. 19080243 David Tonorio. 19080243

Arson accused David Tonorio was playing video games at home on the night of the Friendly Mart fire, he says.

 Defence counsel Norman George called four witnesses to vouch for Tonorio at the High Court yesterday.

He said his 18-year-old client was also at home on the night of the Betela Tex Mart and Raro Mart fires.

Taking the witness stand for the first time, Tonorio, 18, told the court that on June 14, the night of last year’s general election, he was at Teariki Heather’s residence.

He had been employed at T&M Heather at the time and his parents, two brothers and himself were at Heather’s home waiting for the election results.

He went home at around 10pm and played video games throughout the night before falling asleep, he said. He only found out about the fire when he went to work the next day.

Then on June 22, the night of the Tex Mart fire he was home preparing the produce for the market the next day with his family and he did the same on July 8, the night of the Raro Mart fire.

When, George asked if he spoke to Philip Hosking, Puapii Nicholas, Jonathan Simpson and Timota Kokaria about the fire, he said “no”.

Crown prosecutor Kathy Bell began her cross-examination by asking Tonorio if he would lie to any of his friends or make things up.

“No,” he said.

“Would you lie to Timota about things, you had done?” Bell asked.

He replied: “I wouldn’t say a lie. I wouldn’t lie to Timo about things.”

Bell showed him a map of where he stayed, and where the Friendly Mart was.

Tonorio said he lived three minutes from the Friendly Mart, if he had to travel by bike.

Bell told Tonorio that a month ago the Crown was notified about his alibis and this was done to provide notice and details of where he was at the time of the fires.

“It was important to make sure that the information was correct,” she said.

On the police notice, Tonorio stated that on the night of the Raro Mart fire he was at T&M Heather’s – his work site.

Tonorio replied that he was wrong, but he was preparing the produce for the market the next day.

Bell asked if this was done on a daily basis? He said yes.

Bell further revealed that Tonorio’s mother Maria Tonorio in a witness statement report stated that Tonorio was consuming Heineken at Heather’s residence on June 14.

His younger brother stated he was drinking Woodstock.

When asked if he and his family would lie to the police, he said “no”.

Bell asked if they have had family meetings about giving evidence, Tonorio said ‘yes.’

Tonorio is charged with three counts of arson. He is alleged to have caused the fire at the Friendly Mart, the Batela Tex Mart and the Raro Mart store last year.

The trial continues next week.


* $8m Cooks insurance bill rising

* Floods and fires fuel pain

* Tonorio to appeal arson conviction, says lawyer

* Arsonist continues crime spree on bail

* Police work on arson case praised

* Mart Arson trial: Lying witness is recalled to stand

*‘I lied’: Stunning u-turn by arson accuser

* 18 year old guilty of arson

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