Red Fox Tavern – Family member asked accused: Did heist have ‘anything to do with you?’

The morning after the infamous fatal 1987 Red Fox Tavern robbery one of the men on trial was asked by a family member if he had anything to do with it, a court has heard.

A man with name suppression and Mark Joseph Hoggart are on trial for the aggravated robbery and murder of its publican, Christopher Bush, in Waikato.

It is alleged the two men stole cheques and cash to the value of just over $36,000 in the armed hold-up at the Maramarua tavern.

Both accused deny the charges.

Today, in the High Court at Auckland the unnamed defendant’s brother-in-law gave evidence.

He said the unnamed defendant had stayed with him on a Napier vineyard for a short time in the late 80s after getting out of jail.

The accused had spent time in jail for an aggravated robbery in Auckland in the early 1980s.

There was something of a family reunion organised for that long Labour weekend in October, 1987.

The brother-in-law said the unnamed accused arrived that Sunday morning, looking as if he had not slept.

As news broke of the fatal Red Fox Tavern robbery, the family heard a report on the radio, the court head.

The brother-in-law gave evidence that a family member asked the accused if that was “anything to do with you?”

The unnamed defendant’s reply was something along the lines of a denial, followed with that was “bloody lovely”, the court heard.

Earlier that same week, the brother-in-law said the accused and Charles Ross had turned up on the property with a sawn-off shotgun asking if they could fire it off.

They took it to the end of the vineyard to practise fire a few rounds.

The shots were fired into a stump and also a steel drawer – it seemed a good gun for scaring off birds, the man had believed.

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