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Anyone caught looting in the wake of Christchurch's devastating earthquake on Saturday would be harshly treated by the courts, a judge warned today.
"The court will be taking a close look at people who offended during this disaster," Judge Michael Crosbie said.
They would be presented to the courts as being people who were capable of anything.
He made his comment in Christchurch District Court while dealing with series of remands of people alleged to have taken advantage of the disaster.
Justice Crosbie slapped remands in custody or strict curfews on those charged in cases where police alleged the offending was earthquake related.
Jack Duckmanton, an unemployed 20-year-old, was held in custody after police opposed bail.
Police alleged he broke into a house that had been damaged and left abandoned in Avonside Drive on Saturday.
"This is a matter where I would not want to place the community at risk," said Judge Crosbie as he refused bail.
"The community is still in a fragile state. It is still experiencing the effects of this devastating earthquake.
"Fortunately, the dominant mood of the town is one of help, assistance and support."
Unfortunately, there were those who would seek to take advantage of the situation and he would not want to put the community at risk from them.
Duckmanton, of Woolston, was remanded in custody to September 13.
His alleged co-offender, 19-year-old mechanic Shannon William Johnson of Islington, was remanded by a registrar to appear on September 20. Police did not oppose bail in his case.
Judge Crosbie asked police to confirm that two others, Daniel Ezekiel Peneha, 28, unemployed, of St Albans, and Deon Mathew Rich, an unemployed 17-year-old from Somerfield, had allegedly sought to take advantage of the situation after the earthquake.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Brocas confirmed that and Judge Crosbie told them that if the police had opposed bail they would have been staying in custody.
Peneha is charged with the Sunday burglary of a house in Edgeware Road, and Rich with breaking into a cafe on Wrights Road, in Addington, on Sunday.
They entered no pleas. Peneha must abide by a 24-hour-a-day curfew and Rich has a 7pm to 7am curfew during their remands.
Kimiona Ngatamariki, a 21-year-old chef, was alleged by Mr Brocas to have committed an "opportunistic" burglary of a hairdressing shop in Barbadoes Street on Sunday. He entered no plea and was been remanded on bail with a 7pm to 7am curfew.
Others faced weekend burglary allegations, but it was not clear whether they were related to buildings that were damaged or abandoned in the earthquake.