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Escalating tension

Police fear it will 'not take much for something to go badly wrong'.

Police have expressed concerns over escalating gang tensions as several men charged following incidents involving firearms appeared yesterday in Gisborne District Court.

Two of those incidents — one in Edison Street, Gisborne, on Saturday morning, the other in Lucknow Street, Wairoa, on Monday — involved two men being shot in the leg.

A 21-year-old man was shot in the Edison Street incident and taken to Gisborne Hospital on Saturday morning.

A man in his 30s presented himself to Wairoa Hospital on Monday night.

Each of the men are reported to be in a stable condition.

The incidents were gang-related but did not appear to be linked, police said.

There have been other recent incidents in Wairoa where firearms have been presented but not discharged.

Police this week upped their presence in the town and were authorised to temporarily carry firearms.

Five men yesterday appeared in Gisborne District Court in relation to the recent incidents.

Two were allegedly involved in the Edison Street incident and three were said to have been involved in the Wairoa incidents.

Judge Philip Recordon granted four of them bail to addresses in other centres. He further remanded one in custody by consent for a bail application today.

Prosecutor Brendan Mills opposed all the applications, saying police were concerned the incidents happened in “a climate of escalating gang tension” and that it “would not take much for something to go badly wrong”.

If bail was granted, police wanted strict conditions imposed, including 24-hour curfews and orders forbidding the defendants from associating with others involved and other gang members, Mr Mills said.

The Gisborne incident reportedly involved a large group of Mongrel Mob associates converging on a property at Edison Street where the 21-year-old was shot.

On Monday, Black Power man Tuahae Aupouri, 31, who was on electronically-monitored bail at the house, appeared in court after being arrested Saturday morning.

He was charged with being in possession of an offensive weapon — a machete — during the incident.

Aupouri, represented by counsel Vicki Thorpe, claimed in court the rival gang group went uninvited to the street and had firearms. The group wrongly accused him of burgling the home of one of their associates — something he could not have done given he was on EM-bail.

Judge Recordon readmitted Aupouri to EM-bail, remanding him without plea on the charge.

The two men who appeared yesterday before the judge in relation to the Gisborne incident were alleged to have been among the group who converged on Edison Street.

Charlie Rewi McMinn, 30, was charged with possessing an offensive weapon — a baseball bat — in public, and three other jointly-laid offences involving Dylan David Donnelly and others as co-accused.

Those charges were threatening to kill Aupouri, using a firearm while committing an imprisonable offence (threatening to kill), and unlawful assembly.

McMinn was granted bail to a Taranaki address with conditions, including a 24-hour curfew and an order not to associate with co-offenders (including Donnelly), the alleged victims or any other gang members.

He was also forbidden to wear gang regalia. He must not enter Gisborne unless for court or to meet with his lawyer.

Donnelly, 31, also appeared on the three jointly-laid charges. He was remanded on bail without plea to an Opotiki address.

Bail conditions were similar to those imposed for McMinn but the curfew was an overnight one from 7pm to 7am.

Donnelly's case will be called again at a registrar's list on February 17.

He is excused from attending if represented by his lawyer.

The three men who appeared before Judge Recordon in relation to the Wairoa incidents were Tyreece Kohe-Davis, 18, Peta Gemmell, 23, and Cayde Culshaw, 19.

Kohe-Davis is charged with unlawful assembly. He was bailed to a Kawerau address with conditions that included a 24-hour curfew, travel restrictions and orders not to associate with victims and co-offenders, including Gemmell.

Gemmell also faces a charge of unlawful assembly and was further remanded in custody by consent overnight to apply for bail today.

Culshaw, charged with possession of an offensive weapon, was readmitted to bail at a Raupunga address.

Conditions for Culshaw also included a travel restriction, 24-hour curfew, and order forbidding him from associating with Kohe-Davis and Gemmell.

He is scheduled to reappear in Wairoa District Court on February 12.

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