Tow-truck driver found not guilty of taking car

A tow-truck driver has been found not guilty of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle after driving an impounded car at speeds of up to 113kmh.

Michael Donald Woods, owner of an Auckland tow-truck company, says he took the car for a drive - after towing it at the request of police - only to check its suspension.

But the DVD of a police interview, played in the Auckland District Court yesterday, showed he changed his story after being told he had been caught out by the GPS device.

Woods, 51, pleaded not-guilty to a charge of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

After hearing closing arguments from lawyers and Judge Brooke Gibson's summing up today, the jury took just over 20 minutes to reach its verdict.

The incident began early on April 15, 2012, when police called Woods to pick up the impounded Nissan Silvia from Mt Wellington.

Prosecutor Leo Farmer told the court in his opening that when Woods returned to his yard, he took the car off the truck and took it for a drive.

"What Mr Woods didn't know is that [owner Erin] Ashe's car had a tracking device fitted to it. It's called a Snitch."

Defence lawyer Jeremy Bioletti argued, however, that Woods did not know what he was doing was wrong and that belief was important in deciding his guilt or innocence.

- By Jimmy Ellingham of APNZ

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