Trial delay for girls accused after ‘kidnap’

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A trial of three Queenstown women facing charges in relation to an alleged violent kidnapping is likely to be next year.

Judge Kevin Phillips, who lives in Queenstown, has ruled himself out for the trial because he knows the families. 

Judge Phillips told a hearing on the case in Invercargill District Court yesterday that any trial would probably not go ahead till next year as it’d be difficult to find his replacement. 

His comments came as three accused Rachel Maree Faul, 21, Charlotte Amelia Spencer Dickson, 18, and Brooke Sylvia Carpenter, 17, appeared before him yesterday. 

During the appearance, Crown Solicitor Mary-Jane Thomas became furious at a submission the curfew conditions be relaxed for Dickson and Carpenter as their parents had become tired of police checking to make sure they were home. 

Thomas said if parents from Queenstown were annoyed at doors being knocked on and the court changed the curfew conditions in response, there was a risk people from certain socio-economic backgrounds would get different treatment. 

“A curfew is used in this jurisdiction as a method to ensure that young people that get into trouble at night…stay at home at night.” 

All young people should expect the same treatment by the court, she said. 

Judge Phillips said: “Whether they’re rich, spoilt young woman or their parents are rich, they’ll be treated equally.” 

An application that Carpenter should have no curfew, was rejected by Judge Phillips. 

The application had argued she was just 17, living at home and unlikely to go to trial until next year when she would have been on curfew restrictions for more than 12 months. 

Judge Phillips said: “So be it.” 

However, he did not think it fair that Faul had had her curfew relaxed even though she was accused of more serious matters. Both he and Thomas questioned the earlier court decision. 

The judge said the women were part of an incident that involved alcohol, drugs and happened at night. 

“But they’re entitled to claim innocence until proven guilty,” he said. 

Judge Phillips continued bail for the trio, with an order they not associate with each other, surrender their passports, consume no alcohol or illicit drugs and not leave their home address between 11pm and 6am unless they were in the direct company of one or both of their parents. 

They will reappear on August 9.