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Indemnified witness tells police of his own crimes

Date

Louis Andrews

A key Crown witness in the trial of a man accused of plotting a robbery told police about his own involvement in crimes ranging from aggravated robberies and burglaries to arson and illegally downloading music.

But while the witness has admitted doing a deal in exchange for indemnity and a lighter sentence, he denied exaggerating the other man's role in the alleged plot.

He is giving evidence in the trial of a 34-year-old Canberra man charged with conspiring to rob the Woolworths supermarket in Kambah Village in January last year.

The accused man and the witness, alleged partners in crime, cannot be named for legal reasons so The Canberra Times will refer to them respectively as Person A and Person B.

Person A has pleaded not guilty and his barrister, Shane Gill, told the ACT Supreme Court jury on Monday they might think the plan was to commit a mere theft or ''snatch and grab'' rather than a robbery involving violence or threats.

The two men were arrested after police monitoring their phone conversations heard references to ''a little something something'' and watching the end-of-shift counting

through binoculars from a nearby park.

The pair were also recorded discussing an abundance of wet weather emergency call-outs due to storms the night before, to which Person A said: ''but there'll be one emergency call tonight, don't you worry about that, that's how I f---ing roll''.

The court heard the pair had not gone as far as the front doors of the supermarket when police ''jumped out of some bushes'' and arrested them.

Person B said the plan had been to go through the front door shortly before closing or, if the door was locked, break a window with a pinch bar.

The accused man would then approach the staff member manning the cigarette counter, take the money and run.

The witness said the pair had previously discussed the ''shock and awe'' of being confronted by a masked man with a pinch bar, even if no direct violence was involved.

But he agreed it was his decision to carry a knife, with Person A saying he himself did not need one, and there was no discussion about using the pinch bar as a weapon.

Person B pleaded guilty to his role in the plan but received a combination of weekend jail and a suspended sentence after an agreement to give evidence against the other man.

He was also given indemnity from prosecution for his involvement in a spate of crimes committed through the city - including burglaries, robberies, arson and property damage relating to an ATM explosion, car theft and unlawfully acquiring a firearm - in exchange for giving a statement about ''a number of matters unconnected to this charge [the Kambah incident]''.

''You even went so far as to tell police that you downloaded music illegally in that statement,'' Mr Gill said.

''Possibly, I can't recall, yes,'' the witness replied.

But he denied exaggerating evidence about the Kambah matter to get the benefit of the deal.

The trial before Justice John Burns continues on Tuesday.

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