Accesory suspects plead not guilty

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Three people charged with being accessories after the fact in relation to the murder of Justin McFarlane pleaded not guilty before the registrar at the Oamaru District Court yesterday.

Stephanie Rose Lawrence, 36, shop assistant, of Oamaru, is charged with assisting Ryan Warren Geary-Smart, 23, to avoid arrest, knowing that he had been party to murder, while Wendy Geary, 52, of Oamaru, is charged with tampering with evidence to enable Geary-Smart to avoid conviction, knowing he had been a party to murder.

Seventeen-year-old cheese maker Corbin George Taylor, of Oamaru, is also charged with assisting Geary-Smart to avoid arrest, knowing that he had been party to murder.

All three entered not guilty pleas yesterday, with matters being adjourned for case review on December 11.

All four men jointly accused of murdering dairy worker Justin Conrad McFarlane, at his Elderslie home on September 11, have also pleaded not guilty.

They appeared before Justice Graham Panckhurst (sitting in Christchurch) via a video-conference link from the High Court at Dunedin last week.

Steven Kenneth Boskell, 18, Jacob Christopher Geary-Smart, 22, Ryan Warren Geary-Smart, 23, and Robert James Cummings, 22, stood together in the dock and were flanked by four guards from the Otago Corrections Facility.

Crown solicitor Andrew McRae, of Timaru, said the police investigation of Mr McFarlane’s death was ongoing and it might be difficult to make full disclosure to counsel before a case review, which was set to be held in Dunedin on December 3.

Justice Panckhurst remanded all four accused in custody to December 3.