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Thursday 17 March 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, National
Woo Store where the aggravated robbery took place. AL WILLIAMS/21013103
Daniel Mare appeared before
Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams in front of a jury of eight women and four men
who delivered their verdict shortly after 1pm on Wednesday.
It took the jury just over
an hour to reach a verdict at the High Court in Avarua.
The case centred around an aggravated robbery which
took place at the Woo Store in Titikaveka, in January last year.
The Crown argued that four men planned to rob the
Three men went into the store, one armed with a
machete, and another armed with a baseball bat while it was alleged Mare was
the getaway driver who knew what was going to happen.
In delivering his closing address on Wednesday, defence
lawyer Keykore Ahsin said more witnesses could have been called to the stand as
the Crown had an opportunity to build the case.
Two witnesses who had possession of the weapons during
the robbery, a baseball bat and a machete, should have been called to give
evidence, he said.
“Why were they not called?”
Ahsin said his client did not know there was a plan to
rob the store.
He said the Crown’s main witness, one of the three men
who entered the store, did not provide consistent evidence.
Two police officers who gave evidence should have been
better prepared, the defence lawyer said.
“They came to court not knowing, they are not very
relevant, they haven’t proven anything.
“My client did not know, even during the robbery, he
did not know.
“He was not involved in a plan, that is a crucial
element, ask yourself, am I sure that he was part of this or that he knew about
it, or are there a lot of question marks?”
Crown lawyer Jamie Crawford said the defendant, in
giving evidence, left his address and drove to the “black market”.
“When he was pressed, his evidence didn’t make sense
or add up, that’s what happens when someone lies.”
Crawford said Mare claimed his initial statement to
police was a fabrication, because it had been written by a police officer, and
“Police have lied under oath?
“He gave a statement that day and lied.
“It was an incredible story about police fabricating
the story, it even surprised his lawyers.”
Crawford said the jury could not rely on the
“Reject the defence evidence and focus on the Crown
She said the Crown’s main witness had changed his
story because he was scared of Mare.
“He fine-tuned his evidence to support Daniel and the
defence took advantage of it.
“I say he was scared in the witness box.
“There was a plan and Daniel was aware, the plan was
executed, he was ready for a getaway.
“His account cannot be relied upon, he acted as a