Man who sparked armed callout pleads guilty

By Imran Ali -
2 comments
Police carrying out investigations on Willow Place, Whangarei, after gunshots were heard in December, 2014.
Police carrying out investigations on Willow Place, Whangarei, after gunshots were heard in December, 2014.

A Whangarei man has pleaded guilty at the start of his jury trial to charges relating to an Armed Offenders' Squad callout after reports of gunshots.

Harley Whaanga, 28, entered guilty pleas in the High Court in Whangarei on Tuesday to charges of arson, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and assault with a weapon.

Crown solicitor Mike Smith withdrew one charge of attempted murder. Whaanga did not face any firearms' charges.

The Willow Rd resident was arrested after police received reports of gunshots on that road and cordoned off Maunu Rd from Western Hills Drive to Ngahere Drive about 1.50pm on December 2, 2014.

Seven police cars, one van, an ambulance, and one St John ute was positioned at a cordon just after 3pm.

Police believed a dispute between two parties escalated into more serious violence.

It was believed a man lay injured on the front lawn of an empty house for more than an hour before about six AOS members carried him out on a stretcher.

The injured man was transported to the Whangarei Hospital in a stable condition.

Whaanga initially appeared in the Whangarei District Court and was remanded to appear in the High Court for a bail application.

In the High Court on Tuesday, Whaanga had a discussion with his lawyer, Catherine Cull, before returning to court and said he would plead guilty.

Those who turned up for jury selection were then excused.

Whaanga was remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing on December 12.

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