Not guilty pleas in ar­son case

Taranaki Daily News - - News - Tara Shaskey

A man ac­cused of torch­ing a po­lice ute and set­ting fire to a ve­hi­cle in a New Ply­mouth car yard will face trial for the al­leged crimes.

Daniel Wil­liam Wratt has been charged with smash­ing the win­dow of a po­lice search and res­cue ve­hi­cle and throw­ing some­thing in­side, which caused the in­te­rior to catch alight.

The un­oc­cu­pied ute was in the po­lice car park be­hind the sta­tion on New Ply­mouth’s Vi­vian St at the time of the May in­ci­dent.

Sergeant Bruce Irvine ear­lier said a mem­ber of the pub­lic went to the sta­tion’s front counter and raised the alarm. He used a fire ex­tin­guisher on the ute, and the fire brigade was called.

‘‘The whole ve­hi­cle was filled with smoke,’’ Irvine said.

The week be­fore, it is al­leged Wratt car­ried out a sim­i­lar at­tack on a ve­hi­cle at Merit Cars on Leach St.

Yes­ter­day, the 33-year-old ap­peared in New Ply­mouth Dis­trict Court, where he en­tered not guilty pleas to two charges of bur­glary and two of ar­son.

Choos­ing to rep­re­sent him­self, the de­fen­dant sat in the dock and re­fused the help of a duty so­lic­i­tor.

He also re­quested a change of judge for the hear­ing.

Fol­low­ing his not guilty pleas, Wratt was re­manded into cus­tody to reap­pear on De­cem­ber 3.

Lawyer Nathan Bourke sug­gested that the court ap­point an am­i­cus, or im­par­tial ad­viser, for Wratt, to which the judge agreed.

The dam­aged po­lice ute.

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