Wilson found guilty of kidnapping


A Glenorchy man has been found guilty of kidnapping three men and injuring one of the trio in Queenstown in late 2014.

In a verdict in which the jury could reach unanimous agreement on only five of nine charges, a Bluff man was also found guilty of injuring but acquitted of kidnapping.

The jury of six men and six women reached its verdict at noon yesterday at the Invercargill District Court, after 24 hours’ deliberation.

Pita William Wilson, 40, was found guilty of kidnapping Joseph Armstrong, Andrew Lee and Casey Johnston at a Lakeview cabin in the resort between November 25 and 26 of 2014. The verdicts were by an 11-1 majority.

Wilson was also found guilty of injuring Armstrong with intent to injure, but not guilty of supplying class A-controlled methamphetamine. Both verdicts were unanimous.

Mark Junior Taylor, 19, was found not guilty of the three kidnapping charges, also unanimously, but guilty by a majority on the charge of injuring Armstrong with intent to injure.

Judge Brian Callaghan convicted Wilson and Taylor and remanded them for sentencing on June 20.

He remanded Wilson in custody and ordered a pre-sentencing report and victim impact statements. Taylor was released on bail.

Wilson remained impassive while the verdicts were read out, while Taylor shook his head angrily. The pair hugged before Taylor was released on bail.

The verdict followed seven days of evidence in a trial that began on May 24 and involved seven witnesses. Neither Wilson nor Taylor gave evidence.

A third accused, Amanda Jane Nicolls, 45, of Frankton, was acquitted by Judge Callaghan on Tuesday of a single charge of being an accessory after the fact.

The Crown argued Armstrong suffered a prolonged beating by Wilson and another Glenorchy man, Joshua Veint, at the cabin on the night of November 25 because Wilson believed Armstrong had slept with his ex-girlfriend.

It alleged Taylor assisted Wilson by acting as a lookout to prevent Armstrong and others from leaving the cabin until the following morning.

Veint, 24, of Glenorchy, was convicted and sentenced to two years’ prison last month for his part in the incident. 

Otago Daily Times