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MENACES ALLEGED

TWO MEN FOR TRIAL

RATIONING OFFICERS

O.C. WHANGAREI, this day. Chargec in the Kaitaia Police Court to-day with demanding with menaces on June 29, at Herekino,, £50 from Steve Lunjevich, storekeeper, of Herekino, with intent to steal, such money, two Aucklanders, _ Joseph Walshaw Harvey, aged 58, and Anthony Charles Lockery, aged 60, both married men, pleaded not guilty and were committed to the Supreme Court for trial. Bail was renewed of £200 in the accuseds' own recognisance, and with one surety each of £200. DetectiveSergeant J. B. Finlay, of Whangarei, appeared for the police, while Mr. K. H. Kelly represented the accused. The original date of the charge was June 30, but this was amended at the request of the prosecution. . Steve William Lunjevich, partner in the firm of D. Lunjevich and Sons, general storekeepers, of Herekino, stated that on Friday, June 29, both the accused called at his premises, the younger man stating that they were food control inspectors and had called to inspect tea and sugar j stocks. They made a check of these stocks and stated that there was a , shortage of 44 bags of sugar. The younger man said this was a very serious offence and that a man in I Wellington had been fined £200 with two weeks' gaol for a similar offence, witness continued. He also said that if he sent a report in, witness : would be in a similar position to , this. Witness had made no comment, , but the shortage was ultimately i reduced to 31 bags by reason of a sugar order not yet received. ( Mention of £100 Alleged J In a later conversation the younger | man said he felt very sorry for witness and that he would like to help, but the only way he could do so ]

was by squaring two men above him. Witness asked how much this would cost, and Lockery asked what it was worth to him. Witness stated he could not say, as he was not the boss, who he said was absent from the premises. Lockery then mentioned the sum of £100, but witness maintained he could do nothing without the boss. The two men then left for Broadwood. During their absence witness checked his sugar and found he was only 25 bags short. When the two men returned later in the day this was pointed out to them and the younger man, while agreeing to the amended figures, said it was still a serious matter. Harvey was present throughout these proceedings. Witness asked what could be the least amount necessary to keep the matter quiet. Lockery had said it would take £50, being £25 for each of the two men above them. Anything extra for their own trouble would be left to the firm. Witness still maintained that He could do nothing without his boss (actually his father) and they arranged to call again the following day. All his attempts to find out the men's names had been unsuccessful, said witness. His own opinion at the time was that they were a couple of crooks trying to obtain money from him by bluff. After the men had left for Kaitaia, said witness, iie sought legal advice, as .a result of which he contacted them by phone at the Kaitaia Hotel, asking to speak to the rationing officers. It was arranged 'for them to call at the shop on the following afternoon. Next day Sergeant H. J. Harrington and Constable G. F. Molloy, of Kaitaia, concealed themselves on the premises, providing witness with £50 in marked notes. When the two accused arrived, witness told them that it had been decided to pay £50 provided the matter was not reported. In accepting the £50, the younger man said that nothing more would be heard about the incident. It was likely that witness would get a stir-up from the Price Tribunal, but this would be only a matter of form. When the two men made to leave the shop they were accosted by Sergeant Harrington. "They produced their authorities, and it was only then that I realised

they were genuine rationing officers," | witness continued. "I did not at any! time offer to bribe them." Police Sergeant's Story Sergeant Harrington said that on June 30, by arrangement with Mr. J. B. Reynolds, solicitor, he received from him £50 in notes and went to Herekino with Constable Molloy. The money was handed to Steve Lunjevich after a record of the numbers of the notes was taken. The police then hid behind the side ! counter in the store. Shortly after 2 p.m. the two men arrived by car, and were admitted by Steve Lunjevich. The latter told them he had seen the boss, who had agreed to pay. Witness heard Harvey ask if there was anybody else about. After J giving an assurance in this respect, Lunjevich said that in paying the money he wanted a guarantee that there would be no legal proceeding < against the firm. One of the men replied that it was a matter between ■ the three of them only, and there i would be no legal consequences. - The money was then paid over, Harvey advising Lunjevich that, in the event of future shortages, he should apply for them. When the two men were accosted by the police, Lockery said: "We could say it was a bribe and pay it into the police account." Lockery admi'tted having received the money and both produced inspectors' authorities. Harvey was very distressed and asked the police: "Isn't there anything you can do to help us." Witness said he replied that it was too late for that. Lockery said the police did not know what.had happened on the premises the previous day, but was told they knew everything. The accused were then taken into custody. At the Kaitaia Police Station Harvey was asked if he had any explanation. His reply was: "I have been a weak fool." Lockery when asked if he wished to make an explanation said he would make it later. When the prosecution produced bank pass books stated to have been in the possession of the accused, MiKelly objected to their admission as evidence. The objection was upheld and the books were retained in the custody of the Court. Constable George Francis Molloy stated that the money handed over by Lunjevich was received by Lockery. Lockery surrendered the money received to Sergeant Harrington, the numbers of the notes being checked against a list in the sergeant's possession. On the way to Kaitaia, Harvey told witness he had been 40 years in the public service and never been in Court. He realised that he had been a weak fool, and inferred that when Lockery suggested the line of action to him the previous day, he had been dumbfounded. He was still distressed and asked the constable what he thought the punishment would be. This evidence was admitted against Harvey only. To Mr. Kelly witness said the notes of conversation between Lunjevich and accused were not taken while the police were hiding. *

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450717.2.82

Bibliographic details

MENACES ALLEGED, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 167, 17 July 1945

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1,174

MENACES ALLEGED Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 167, 17 July 1945

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