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Woo Store robbery: Two plead guilty, bail for one

Saturday 17 April 2021 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in


Woo Store robbery: Two  plead guilty, bail for one
Woo’s Store in Tikioki. 21013103.

A Cook Islander deported from Australia involved in the Woo Store robbery was denied bail in High Court this week.

Two men accused of the aggravated robbery of the Woo Store in January have entered a plea of guilty, with one being granted bail while the other is still in custody.

The alleged robbery took place on the night of January 30, when four men entered Woo’s store in Titikaveka with a baseball bat and a bush knife. The offenders stole cash, cigarettes and canned alcoholic drinks.

In the High Court on Thursday Josiah Maxwell and Teariki Taamaru both pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated robbery, through their defence lawyer Mark Short.

Short asked for bail for both his clients who since their arrest had been remanded in custody. He said he understood his clients were in custody while police underwent the investigation but since it’s finished he felt bail should be granted.

Bail was granted by Justice of Peace, Georgina Keenan-Williams, for Josiah Maxwell under strict conditions, but not yet for Teariki Taamaru.

Taamaru, who is an Australian deportee, has a similar previous conviction, the court heard. Crown prosecutors asked that he remain in custody because of the conviction.

This was challenged by Short who said his client had already spent three months in jail and the other three people who allegedly were involved in the same robbery were all on bail. He felt because his client entered a guilty plea he accepted his actions and should be released.

JP Keenan-Williams said: “It’s not the same, it’s the fact you (Taamaru) have a history of the same nature of the offence.”

“The others do not have a similar offence.”

Short asked for the matter of Taamaru’s bail to be adjourned. A date was set to discuss the matter at the court sitting on Thursday next week.

During Maxwell’s court session, Short asked the police if the car used in the robbery could also be released from custody because it belonged to Maxwell’s mother.

“It has made it very difficult for the family to take the kids to school. So the mother, as I understand, has to go on the motorbike and drop one-off, come back, get the next one and drop them off as well.”

Short said he could “not see any reason why the car should be kept” considering three months was plenty of time to get the fingerprints and take photos for the case.

The police prosecutor said: “Even though it wasn’t their vehicle, the vehicle was used by the defendants”, and that the vehicle should stay in police hands.

Short thought this was “unreasonable” and said he will make a written submission for the car to be released.

Maxwell’s bail conditions are he must reside with his parents, be home after 7pm and before 7am, he cannot consume drugs or alcohol, enter a liquor premises, contact his co-offenders, or interfere with police witnesses.