Three in court over Auckland chemical explosion

Two people were remanded in custody, while a third person got bail, when they appeared in court today on a drug charge arising from a chemical explosion in an upmarket Auckland street last night.

Brand Heath Colby Sutton, 26, Zara Kathleen Adams, 24, and Kelvin Sonny Cress, 27, were jointly charged with possessing the precursor toluene with the intention of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Sutton, a plumber, and Adams were remanded in custody, while Cress, a parts manager, was remanded on bail. The three will reappear in Auckland District Court on Monday.

All three had applied for bail, with their lawyers indicating they would deny the charge.

The explosion happened about 6.45pm in exclusive Paritai Drive, in Orakei.

Two other people, both male, were seriously injured in the blast and were taken to hospital. One was in a critical condition while the other had serious burns.

Adams lived at the property, and her lawyer, Guyon Foley, said she told police she knew toluene was in a room, but it had been brought there by someone else and she didn't know what it was for.

Because of past association, Adams and her partner, who was overseas, had been plagued by visitors and police had been called in the past "to shoo people away", Mr Foley said.

For Sutton, duty solicitor Louise Brown said he was at the address to visit a friend.

"He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

For Cress, Ms Brown said he worked for a company that tidied up properties and that was what he was doing at Paritai Drive.

Police prosecutor Pravinda Singh originally opposed bail for all three, adding that further charges against them were expected.

However, she withdrew her opposition to Cress' bail application after calling his employer.

Earlier, Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Scott said police were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the explosion.

"Over the next couple of days we'll find out a better picture of what's gone on in that house and there may be further arrests."

- NZPA

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