Top fashion designer Trelise Cooper was the victim of a $750,000 burglary at her headquarters last year. Photo / File
A cake decorator fights to keep her identity hidden after being accused of receiving a small amount from the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of luxury clothing stolen from fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper.
Cooper’s HQ in Auckland’s Newmarket was broken into last October and her entire 2021 spring and summer samples were trapped.
A 42-year-old man confessed to having been the burglar this month.
However, others have also been charged with receiving the stolen couture, including a 45-year-old cake decorator.
She appeared in the Auckland High Court today with her counsel Christina Hallaway to appeal for further suppression of the name.
Hallaway said her client was accused of receiving “a very small portion of the clothing” and was concerned that the pie retailer and her company – which is currently not trading – would face social media disdain if identified publicly.
The attorney argued that comments on social media about the case could harm her client’s trial by negatively influencing potential jurors with misinformed opinions.
When the pie seller was arrested, she was allegedly in possession of two coats, a pair of dresses and a suitcase full of Trelise Cooper clothing, the court heard.
While Judge Matthew Muir said he thought the designer’s items were expensive, he was convinced the cake decorator only had “a small percentage of the total number of stolen dresses.”
Earlier this month, the Auckland court heard that about 2,000 items of clothing, worth $750,000, had been stolen — more than the previously believed 1,800 items worth $500,000.
Today, the court was told the value could reach $870,000 as more clothing is recovered by police.
Crown Prosecutor Pavee Patanasiri argued that the pie seller had not reached the extreme hardship threshold necessary to keep her name a secret.
Cooper herself was also against continuing the crackdown on the accused in order to suppress social media’s unfounded suspicions that her staff was involved in an “inside job”.
Judge Eddie Paul had previously refused to continue the crackdown in court, in part because of a desire to end the damaging social media rumours.
Justice Muir saved his decision but said it would be released immediately.
The 42-year-old man responsible for the break-in has pleaded guilty to three charges, including burglary and a representative count of fraud, and will be sentenced in September.
His request for further suppression of the name was also rejected by Judge Paul, and any appeals required by law must be filed by the end of next week. The man had previously advocated oppression because he was “known” in the TV industry.
The cake retailer and 46-year-old florist, Andrea Nicole Edwards, continue to deny the charges against them and are going to trial next year. Edwards, whose name is Andrea Paul on her charges, is charged with receiving most of the stolen clothing – worth about $500,000.
Hallaway said today that there was a clear defense for her client and that the case is going to trial.
A fourth person, a 26-year-old woman, was charged in May with receiving stolen Trelise Cooper-branded clothing.
The first arrests came after police searched a house in central Auckland last November.
During the search, police said they recovered “a significant portion” of the clothing returned to Cooper. However, in March, the court heard that about three quarters of the missing clothes were still missing.
Speaking to the Herald after the break-in, Cooper said the styling room was accessed through a vent in an electrical room.