From Tauranga District Court

Sentencing for one of the four men involved in using a car in a smash and grab at a Tauranga central city liquor store has been adjourned until today.

Walter Te Ratapahi Wikeepa, 20, who earlier pleaded guilty to one joint charge of burglary, and separate charges of theft of a child's bike and breach of community work, was due to be sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday.

The burglary charges relate to Wikeepa and three other men using a vehicle to engage in a ram raid on the Thirsty Liquor Store in Chapel St in the early hours of November 23 last year.

Their vehicle was stopped by police a short time later and still had traces of glass on the bonnet and stolen alcohol inside.

Judge Robert Wolff yesterday agreed to defer sentencing to allow time to obtain further information about the defendant and his proposed home detention address.

Two of Wikeepa's three co-offenders have already been sentenced.

Meanwhile, the identity of a Tauranga man accused of taking an intimate image of a woman with his cellphone after he had allegedly paid her for sexual services will remain a secret for now.

The man's lawyer, Paul Mabey QC, successfully argued for interim name suppression to allow him time to explore the possibility that his client would be offered police diversion, or alternatively make an application for a discharge without conviction.

The offence is alleged to have occurred in Tauranga in late December.

The middle-aged man won his bid to have his identity kept secret when the suppression issue was dealt with by Community Magistrate Sherida Cooper in Tauranga Community Magistrate's Court yesterday.

He was remanded at large and is due back in court later this month.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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