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Man admits role in armed home invasion
Last updated 13:42 10/10/2013

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An Avonside man says he was “coerced” into taking part in a Bishopdale home invasion in which the victim was bound with duct tape and put in a cupboard.

Bail was refused in the Christchurch District Court today after 21-year-old Carlos Santana Whittaker pleaded guilty to the armed burglary of a property in Raleigh St on the night of October 2.

Judge David Saunders suggested to the plasterer’s defence counsel, Steve Hembrow, that he should raise the question of “co-operation” with his client about the three-man home invasion.

“The court is conscious that there are two other serious offenders who are at liberty and not yet held to account for this. He can remain shtum if he wishes, but you will no doubt raise these matters with him prior to sentence,” the judge said.

Hembrow replied: “I have already done that, without success, but I’ll have another go.”

Whittaker was remanded in custody for sentence on December 4.

Judge Saunders asked for a victim-impact statement and a pre-sentence report that will also include Whittaker’s suitability for home detention.

Hembrow said Whittaker’s mother had agreed that he could stay at her home.

He said Whittaker “didn’t want a bar of it” when the others were arranging the home invasion, but he had been coerced into going along.

“He foolishly did take property out of there, which means he is guilty of the crime,” Hembrow said.

Police prosecutor Stephen Burdes said the three men knocked on the door of the home and then forced their way inside when the victim answered it.

One of the associates produced a knife and they forced the man on to a couch and they tried to bind him with thick black tape.

After they dragged him to the rear of the flat, he managed to free himself but could not get away through the rear door.

The other two men forced his head and neck to the floor and one held a knife to his legs while talking about whether they should “shank” him.

Whittaker called out, asking whether they should take an Xbox.

When they left they forced the man into a small hot-water cupboard. He freed himself and alerted a neighbour and the police.

Whittaker admitted the facts when he was interviewed.

Judge Saunders noted that Whittaker had a limited record of previous offending.

At the time of the home invasion, the police said that thousands of dollars worth of specialist electronic equipment had been stolen.