The Herald was granted permission by the High Court to access the 2006 court record – including Mr Bridges’ blistering cross-examination of Robertson.
The young prosecutor’s first question set the tone: “Mr Robertson, can we begin by agreeing you are a liar?”
What followed was a heated defence from Robertson, littered with swearing and Mr Bridges’ insistence the young man was lying. …
Robertson is shown raging at Mr Bridges, accusing police of tampering with evidence, witnesses of getting it wrong, and others of lying.
I suspect Robertson’s rage worked against him.
Justice Keane rejected Mr Bridges’ bid to hold Robertson indefinitely and gave him eight years in prison. He told Robertson: “You are not simply deemed to be a lost cause at the age of 19.”
Sadly he was a lost cause.
Mr Bridges, Cabinet Minister and MP for Tauranga, told the Herald it was an “unforgettable” case.
“It was a combination of the remarkable circumstances and Robertson himself. The crimes I prosecuted were incredibly cold and premeditated. I can still clearly remember the little girl telling the court that Robertson had stolen her on her walk to school. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.”
The other striking aspect was Roberton’s presence at the trial, which Mr Bridges described as “chilling”, especially as he gave evidence in the witness box.
The transcripts in black-and-white only hint at the full story, Mr Bridges said today.
“He is an incredibly cold, angry and dangerous individual. I had to ask for extra security to stand between us as I questioned him, which I had not done in any other case. You just had a sense you couldn’t predict what he would do,” said Mr Bridges.
I’d find it very hard to be a prosecutor, as I’d be constantly worried that criminals would come after you for revenge once they’re released. It’s probably an irrational fear, but I do wonder if this has happened in NZ?