Hole In The Wall safecracker a 'reasonable man'

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Kerr became one of New Zealand's best-known criminals about 20 years ago as leader of the 'Hole In The Wall' safecrackers in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Kerr became one of New Zealand's best-known criminals about 20 years ago as leader of the 'Hole In The Wall' safecrackers in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Simon Allan Kerr, appearing in the Whangarei District Court on burglary charges after two years in hiding, raised handcuffed wrists to blow kisses to his partner in the public gallery and shouted at the judge to tell police to be "more reasonable'' about restraining him.

"To be handcuffed like this all f***ing day ... just tell them to be reasonable, when I am being reasonable,'' he said.

Judge John McDonald did not respond to the outburst.

Kerr, now 50, became one of New Zealand's best-known criminals about 20 years ago as leader of the "Hole In The Wall'' safecrackers in Auckland.

Yesterday Kerr pleaded guilty to one charge relating to the burglary of the Noel Leeming store at Pukekohe south of Auckland in 2009 and was remanded in custody until November 1 for sentence.

He entered no plea to a further six charges relating to a string of burglaries of commercial premises in Whangarei district, also in 2009, and a charge of breaching parole. The Whangarei premises burgled were the Noel Leeming and Harvey Norman stores, the Four Squares in Onerahi and Waipu, Maggie Dixon RE, and Cobb & Co on Bank St.

The accused checked with the judge that he was pleading guilty to the burglary of the Pukekohe Noel Leeming store, not the one in Whangarei, before confirming his plea. Judge McDonald remanded him in custody until September 19 on the burglary charges and a charge of breaching parole.

Duty solicitor Dave Sayes, representing Kerr, opposed three applications to take photographs and film from TVOne, the Northern Advocate and the New Zealand Herald on the grounds that it would prejudice Kerr's chance of a fair trial on the other charges. He asked the judge if the matter could be heard in chambers without the media being present - "I don't trust them,'' he said - because some of the information supporting his request was of a "sensitive nature''.

Judge McDonald said the media were entitled to hear the reasons for Mr Sayes' request. He closed the court instead, allowing representatives of the three applicants to stay. After readmitting the public he said he was ruling there was no basis in Mr Sayes' claim that taking the defendant's picture would be prejudicial to a fair trial. "Any trial on these charges couldn't occur until sometime in the middle of next year by which time any publicity generated by today will have well and truly dissipated.''

Kerr was captured at a property near Tauranga last Wednesday following a tip-off understood to have come from a member of the public.

He had been on the run since December 2009 when a warrant was issued for his arrest after he was linked to the April burglary of the Whangarei Noel Leeming store, remaining at large despite distinctive, extensive tattoos on each side of his neck. The person to whom Kerr blew kisses and mouthed messages in court was carrying a small child who appeared younger than the 21 months Kerr had been on the run.

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