16 Jul 2019

Man accused of being a lookout in violent Grey Lynn dairy robbery

10:38 am on 16 July 2019

A man accused of being a lookout in a violent dairy robbery has gone on trial at the Auckland High Court.

Ngatama Kaienua, 28, on trial at the Auckland High Court.

Ngatama Kaienua, 28, on trial at the Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Gita Patel and her son Siddartha were both stabbed while minding their family business Hylite Dairy in Grey Lynn on 19 June, 2018.

Ngatama Kaienua, 28, is accused of keeping watch outside the store while a 16-year-old entered with a large kitchen knife to carry out the robbery.

The Ōtāhuhu man is defending charges of aggravated wounding and assault with intent to rob at the Auckland High Court this week.

The teenager, who cannot be named, is before the Youth Court.

Crown prosecutor Luke Fraser opened the Crown's case this morning, saying the robbery began with the teenager entering the dairy at about 7.10pm and pretending to look at ice creams until the shop was clear of customers.

"As soon as he was alone inside the store, he moved behind the counter and began stabbing Siddartha. He stabbed him six times; his diaphragm was pierced, his colon was punctured and his lung collapsed."

Mr Fraser said the 16-year-old grabbed the cash register but couldn't open it.

"Gita heard the commotion and came running outside to stop [the teenager]. He pushed her to the ground, stabbing her in the process. Her shoulder was broken during the altercation and she recieved a cut to her forehead."

It's not disputed Mr Kaienua stood outside the entrance of the dairy while the stabbing took place, as captured by CCTV cameras in the area.

It's the Crown's case the pair had planned the dairy robbery at a friend's address nearby after drinking alcohol during the day.

"They spent a short time casing around, looking around, the outside of the premises casing the scene pre-robbery before the [the teenager] entered and the defendant took up position outside next to the bins," Mr Fraser said.

The Crown said while Mr Kaienua did not hold the knife he knowingly and intentionally aided, abeted or incited his co-defendant to carry out the diary robbery.

"It was probably a consequence of carrying out a plan to rob a dairy with a knife as a weapon that the knife might just be used and that those inside the dairy might get stabbed."

Mr Fraser said the court would see a photo taken three days before the attack that depicts Mr Kaienua and the teenager wielding knives and pulling the fingers.

"Plainly the defendant was aware that [the teengaer] was someone who was comfortable with knives of the type used in this robbery.

"The Crown says the defendant could hardly be surprised [the teenager] took a knife to the robbery that they planned and that, in all likelihood, the defendant told him to take it."

Mr Kaienua's defence lawyer Shane Tait said his client had no idea the teenager was carrying a knife when the pair went to the store.

"He effectively accompanied the principal offender to the dairy fully unaware that he was in possession of the knife, unaware of the unpredictable nature in which he used the knife and certainly wasn't there in any capacity as a lookout."

The judge-alone trial before Justice Gault is set down for one week.