Attack sparks raids

By Anna Ferrick

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Three people have been arrested and a stun gun and pistol found in the Pandora area, following police operations in Napier which included Armed Offenders Squad members.

The operations yesterday were in response to an attack at the Bluewater Hotel on Thursday morning when a 35-year-old man was wounded with a pistol.

Turei Ataria, 48, appeared in the Napier District Court yesterday charged with aggravated burglary and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He was jointly charged with a 21-year-old male who was arrested yesterday and was due to appear in the Hastings District Court today.

A 24-year-old man was also arrested at the same Napier address and was due to appear in court today.

Ataria appeared in the dock yesterday with bruising to his face and a bandage around one of his fingers.

Court documents allege Ataria and his co-accused entered the Bluewater Hotel with intent to commit an imprisonable offence in the building, using a pistol as a weapon.

They are also charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent after the victim received head injuries and a potentially fractured arm.

Both charges carry a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment.

Ataria was represented by duty lawyer Philip Jensen, who did not make any bail application. Ataria was remanded in custody until February 26.

Bluewater Hotel owner Rodney Green said that about 4pm yesterday police relinquished control of the hotel room where the incident took place.

"Lots of people have been inquiring but we really don't know anything about what happened," he said.

Members of the Armed Offenders Squad searched two houses in the Maraenui-Marewa area yesterday, looking for a "number of people" who they believed were involved in the incident. While no arrests were made during the searches, an electric stun device and a pistol were found in the Pandora area that police believe could be related to the assault.

A police spokesperson thanked members of the public who heard the assault on Thursday morning and contacted the police. The spokesperson said they provided vital information and helped in finding the arrested persons.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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