Court knocks back shot gangster’s claims that wrong man was jailed

Seven years after a Mongrel Mob member was shot in the head and neck he has broken his silence to claim the Black Power member in jail for his attempted murder is innocent.

In Court of Appeal documents for George Robert Jolley’s​ bid to challenge his attempted murder conviction the man he was jailed for shooting, Wade Pereira​, said he was speaking out now “out of principle”.

He said the delay in speaking was due to the long period of convalescence in the wake of being shot, and the feeling that only recently has he been in a position to address the matter. However, with Pereira refusing to name the shooter, the court of appeal has declined to reserve the conviction.

“Out of principle I cannot sit back and be enjoying my freedom while there is a guy in jail for something he did not do, and I am in a position to do something about it,” Pereira said in an affidavit.

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Jolley has sought to appeal his conviction citing Wade Pereira and his brother Benjamin Pereira’s claims as fresh evidence relating to the identity of the shooter.

His conviction and later jailing for 11 years on attempted murder and participation in an organised criminal group charges stemmed from a 2015 incident in Rotorua and a confrontation between Mongrel Mob and Black Power members.

Wade Pereira was shot in the head and neck, receiving serious injuries, and his brother Benjamin Pereira was hit in the arm.

The court documents note Jolley had previously tried to overturn his conviction on two separate occasions.

“Mr Jolley seeks to appeal his conviction on a new ground, namely fresh evidence relating to the identity of the shooter,” the ruling said.

“The evidence is that of Wade and Benjamin Pereira. They had declined to speak to the police about the incident at the time and neither gave evidence at trial. Now they have provided affidavits asserting that Mr Jolley was not the person who shot them.”

Who pulled the trigger?

The identity of who pulled the trigger was a key element at Jolley’s 2017 trial, with the Crown case resting mainly on two witnesses, Witness A and Witness B.

“Both said they knew Mr Jolley from previous encounters. Both identified him from a photo montage as the shooter.”

Their credibility, however, was “strongly challenged”.

Both admitted to being drug users, and when Witness A was questioned by police in the immediate aftermath of the shooting said “he did not know the identity of the shooter”.

“It was only later when he gave a formal statement that he identified Mr Jolley.”

In his affidavit Wade Pereira said at the time of the shooting a shot was fired into the ground, and he knew “the person holding the gun at the time the first shot was fired was George Jolley”.

The 2015 shooting was the culmination of tensions between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs in Rotorua.

Benn Bathgate/Stuff

The 2015 shooting was the culmination of tensions between the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs in Rotorua.

He said the next time he looked, “it [the gun] was no longer with George Jolley”.

“The reason I know this is because the person who now had the gun was wearing a red bandana around his face,” he said,

“George Jolley was not wearing a bandana.”

He said the armed man was also smaller than Jolley, and that he watched closely as “I saw him as the main threat to us”.

A challenge to shoot

He also described the man raising the firearm, him standing his ground and challenging him to shoot.

“He then fired a shot,” he said,

“As he fired, I ducked my head a little downwards and right. The shot hit me in the top left side of my head and face.”

His brother Benjamin said he recognised Jolley as among the group at the time as they had attended the same school, and that he was initially armed, and that he fired into the ground.

“It was clear that George Jolley intended to fire the gun into the ground. Not at us.”

Then, he said, another man took the gun.

“I know who that person is, but I am not prepared to say his name,” he said.

Benjamin Pereira said he was willing to provide the affidavit now as “Wade is at peace with it all now and wants to get it off his chest”.

He said he had also spoken to a private detective about the matter, and had “always thought about George’s situation”.

“I see his kids all the time. So that is why I’m doing it now.”

Jolley’s defence lawyer told the Court of Appeal the evidence was “fresh”, and that his client did not have access to it at the time of either his trial or subsequent appeal.

The Crown, however, did not accept its credibility “given that only vague descriptions of the shooter are provided and that Benjamin Pereira, who says he knows the identity of the shooter, is not prepared to say who it is”.

The Court of Appeal agreed.

“The application for recall of this Court’s decision dismissing Mr Jolley’s appeal is declined.”

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