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Bail For Boyracer Attack Accused

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch, Feb 9 NZPA - A youth charged over a boyracer attack on a lone police sergeant has been released on bail after several days in custody and a letter from his mother.

News media were warned by Judge Jane Farish that they were not allowed to publish the 17-year-old's address, where he will be staying with his parents, and they were not to lay in wait outside the house.

Lewis John Garton, unemployed, was arrested on Thursday on charges of assaulting the policeman with a weapon, and unlawful assembly.

He was remanded in custody when he appeared in court on Friday.

Garton's mother wrote a letter to the judge saying that she and her husband were prepared to have him living at home under strict conditions.

Judge Farish said: "There are significant public interest grounds which would require me to remand you in custody, principally as a deterrent to other young people who think it is acceptable to act in this way."

But she also said there was a presumption under the legislation that people aged 17 to 20 would be granted bail unless no other course was desirable.

Police strongly opposed bail on the grounds of public interest, and a risk to the continuing investigation into the incident. A large number of alleged co-offenders were still at large, said the judge.

But she decided that bail could be granted on condition that Garton live at home, abide by a 6pm to 6am curfew, not drive a motor vehicle, and not use alcohol nor illicit drugs. He is also forbidden to have or use a cellphone during the remand.

She said she expected the parents to report Garton to the police if he breached those conditions.

"This is your one and only chance," she told the youth in the dock.

"As you are well aware, the community at large has said they need to put a stop to what has been described as boyracer activity in and around the city."

She suppressed the submissions of defence counsel Kerry Cook about the police case, and she refused permission for Garton to be photographed in court because she said identification was likely to be an issue if the case went to trial.

Garton was remanded on bail to February 25.

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