Not guilty pleas in arson case
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.