Man pleads not guilty to crime spree-related charges

The man  arrested after allegedly locking himself in the toilet of a Frankton petrol station has pleaded not guilty to a raft of charges.

Richard John Percival (40) appeared in the Invercargill District Court without legal representation yesterday, and pleaded not guilty to 18 charges, relating to an alleged crime spree across the South Island which ended on Saturday when he was arrested in Frankton.

Judge Mark Callaghan asked Percival if he would like to address him, to which Percival replied, "Not particularly. I’d just like to enter not guilty, trial by jury".

Despite Judge Callaghan "strongly" recommending the man take legal advice, Percival said he would like to continue with his plea. Police said all charges were linked in a "continuous" spree. That included three counts of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, seven of burglary, three of theft, one of robbery, one of reckless driving, one of failing to stop when required, one of refusing officers’ request for blood and one of attempting to unlawfully take a motor vehicle.

He was arrested in Queenstown on Saturday afternoon.

Percival was remanded into custody and ordered to reappear in court for a case review hearing on October 31. 

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