Man found guilty after Grey Lynn dairy robbery

3:50 pm on 29 July 2019

A man accused of being a lookout for a violent dairy robbery in Auckland last year has been found guilty.

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 stabbed while minding their family business, Hylite Dairy, in Grey Lynn in June last year.

Ngatama James Kaienua stood trial in the High Court at Auckland earlier this month after pleading not guilty to aggravated wounding and assault with intent to rob.

The Crown argued the 28-year-old Ōtāhuhu man kept watch while a 16-year-old, who cannot be identified, went inside the dairy with a kitchen knife.

It said while Kaienua didn't stab the mother and son he was criminally responsible by aiding and abetting the teenager, who is before the Youth Court.

This morning Justice Gault delivered guilty verdicts for both charges.

The verdicts were met with tears from the defendant and his family, who sat in the public gallery throughout the week-long judge-alone trial.

Kaienua, represented by Shane Tait and Johnathan Hudson, gave evidence in his own defence at the trial.

He maintained the stabbing came as a total surprise and explained his calm demeanour, as captured by CCTV cameras, on a fear of being wrongly implicated in the crime.

Justice Gault convicted Kaienua on both charges this morning. The court heard this will be the South Auckland man's third strike; meaning the judge has to impose the maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment without parole unless it would be manifestly unjust.

Kaienua will be sentenced on 11 October.

Hylite dairy owner Navin Patel said he was pleased with the verdicts.

A year on from the attack, he said his family was doing okay and had received good support from the surrounding business community.

Crime Prevention Group president Sunny Kaushall said the result was a small win for the victims but dairy owners needed more support.

"It's a good outcome to some extent but think about the victims that have gone through that kind of trauma and destruction."

He said the government needed to provide more support, by way of safety measures and harsher penalties, to keep shopkeepers safe.

Crime Prevention Group president Sunny Kaushall also said dairy owners need more support.

"It's a good outcome to some extent but you know, think about the victim that has gone through that kind of trauma, the destruction. Is there any help or any assistance that the government has given to the victim? No, not much.

"We are looking at only one side of the coin, but the other side of the coin is more painful."