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Teen's Trial For Blackmail Aborted

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Sept 7 NZPA - A Hutt Valley teenager accused of blackmailing a friend over a stolen van has had his trial aborted after a juror raised concerns about his connections to those involved.

Jeremy Connolly, 19, was charged with unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle and blackmail after his arrest in October last year, after he text-messaged a friend whose van was stolen to say he could get it back -- at a cost of $1300.

Following his arrest, he told police he was just trying to facilitate the van's return but admitted the thieves had promised him a cut of the ransom.

Connolly's trial, which began in the High Court at Wellington today, was thrown out this afternoon after a juror raised a concern with the judge over his connections to people in Wainuiomata, where the alleged offending took place, defence counsel Louise Sziranyi told NZPA.

A retrial would be ordered. NZPA WGT ljm dw mgr

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