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Guilty verdict in builder kidnapping case

A man was convicted yesterday of kidnapping and aggravated robbery of a builder in Invercargill.

William Taranaki Taingahue Rangi (42) was found guilty by a jury after deliberating for around two hours.

During his summing up yesterday, Judge Duncan Harvey told jurors about a series of questions they should follow to find Rangi guilty or not guilty.

There were six elements for the kidnapping charge and seven for the aggravated robbery charge that they would have to answer yes to find him guilty.

Opening Monday, Crown attorney Mike Brownlie presented the Crown brief, saying Rangi lured the plaintiff into the house under false pretences on December 10, 2020, saying he wanted a quote for a terrace.

The Crown’s case was that Rangi learned of a dispute the plaintiff was having over a bathroom remodel and told the landlord he could fix the problem for $1,000.

“The defendant said [the homeowner] he knew someone in the Mongrel Mob and he could get his money back for him,” Mr Brownlie said.

After being lured into the property, the man was taken to the garage where Mongrel Mob member Rewai Taylor was also present.

The Complainant was threatened by the two men with hedge trimmers, with the two kidnappers saying they were going to cut off his toes. Threats were also made against his family.

He was forced to access his banking app on his phone so the couple could withdraw $2,000 from the plaintiff’s account.

The money moved from the plaintiff’s account to Taylor’s account and then to Taylor’s brother’s partner’s bank account.

The defense case presented by Sonia Vidal was that the plaintiff owed Taylor a drug debt and Rangi’s only involvement that day was to discuss the botched bathroom renovation and request that the plaintiff fix it. .

He had not threatened the complainant and was not present when the money was transferred from the complainant’s account.

The judge remanded Rangi on bail to appear for sentencing at 10 a.m. on December 16. He requested a pre-sentence report and an updated victim impact statement.

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