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Five people in court following murder of Christchurch teen


Sixteen-year-old Connor Whitehead was fatally shot at a party in Casebrook, Christchurch, late on Friday.

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Sixteen-year-old Connor Whitehead was fatally shot at a party in Casebrook, Christchurch, late on Friday.

All five people facing charges over the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Connor Whitehead at a party in Christchurch three weeks ago have pleaded not guilty.

Connor’s family was in the High Court at Christchurch on Friday to see the pleas entered. They held a framed photograph of the teen, who was killed at a 15th birthday party on Guy Fawkes night, November 5, at a property in Heaphy Place, Casebrook.

Name suppression continues for all but one of the defendants until legal arguments set for February.

The defendants – three men and two women – face charges of murder or abetting the crime by assisting two of the men to avoid arrest.

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Justice Cameron Mander remanded the two men facing murder charges in custody, and the other three people were remanded on continued bail.

One of the men facing a murder charge, a 33-year-old from Aranui, faced additional charges laid in the District Court on Friday. They allege he was unlawfully in possession of a sawn-off shotgun and cartridge on November 8 and 9.

Police sought to join the new charges up with the murder charge. Judge Brian Callaghan granted that order and continued the same suppression that applies in the High Court.

Name suppression has lifted on Nicholas Vincent McKay, 46, a forklift operator from Spencerville, who is charged with being an accessory to murder by allowing one of the men to stay at his address to avoid arrest. Defence counsel John Lucas told the court there was no application for name suppression to continue in his case.

Two women, aged 33, and 36, are charged with assisted each of the men to avoid arrest.

Connor Whitehead’s parents, James Whitehead and Cheryl Merrin, at a media conference in Christchurch.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

Connor Whitehead’s parents, James Whitehead and Cheryl Merrin, at a media conference in Christchurch.

February 3 has been set for argument about name suppression for the four who continue to have an interim order. Other details relating to the defendants have also been suppressed.

The orders for three of the defendants will lapse on December 10 unless they have filed applications and material in support with the High Court registry by that date.

The Crown will have until January 27 to respond to the applications and if media wish to oppose the orders they need to file their response by the same date.

Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said the Crown would oppose suppression for all defendants.

All five facing charges relating to the murder will appear in the High Court for a case review hearing on February 18.

The agreed date for the start of the defendants’ trial is May 8, 2023.



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