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Head Hunter let off for taking truck

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/12/2016

A Head Hunters gang member found guilty of unlawfully taking a wealthy businessman's truck during a Rotorua kidnapping trial has been discharged without penalty.

Jordan Alexander Christian, 21, appeared before Justice Timothy Brewer, in the High Court at Rotorua on Wednesday and was told the seven weeks he'd spent in custody during the trial and time on restricted bail before that would be considered penalty enough.

Justice Brewer said he did not have the power to overturn the conviction but the reality was Christian had been charged as a party to the offence and was not the principal offender.

Christian had been charged jointly with Benjamin Paul Dwyer, 28, Stephen William Daly, 33, David Peter Clark, 36, Brent Anthony Gunning, 37, Liam John Kane, 24, Matthew John McDonnell, 45, Stacy Walton Dennis Paora, 29 and Sam Wiremu Rolleston 23.

The group faced 62 violence-related charges relating to the businessman and an employee, including kidnapping and extortion.

Each was acquitted by the jury on the truck theft charge when the trial ended on December 7.

In a 10-1 majority decision a guilty verdict was entered against Kane on a charge of unlawfully possessing a firearm, a .410 gauge shotgun, at Tauranga on February 18, 2015.

In another 10-1 majority decision Dwyer and Gunning were found guilty of robbing the businessman's girlfriend of her phone at Tauranga on January 20 last year.

The remainder of the defendants were found not guilty on the charges they faced either jointly or separately and were discharged.

Dwyer, Gunning and Kane are to be sentenced in the same court on February 28.

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