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Kidnap case jury yet to reach verdicts

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/12/2016

Rotroua district court © Mead Norton/Getty Images Rotroua district court The jury trying nine men on kidnapping, extortion and allied violence charges has yet to reach its verdicts in the High Court at Rotorua.

The jurors have been deliberating for 11 hours, having started on Friday and been excused on Monday because one of the panel had a family bereavement.

When they returned to court on Tuesday, Justice Timothy Brewer reiterated his earlier instruction that it was entirely up to them how long it took to reach verdicts on 62 charges.

"You can continue throughout the week," he said.

On trial are Benjamin Paul Dwyer, 28, Stephen William Daly, 33, Jordan Alexander Christian, 21, David Peter Clark, 36, Brent Anthony Gunning, 37, Liam John Kane, 24, Matthew John McDonnell, 45, Stacy Walton Dennis Paora, 29, and Sam Wiremu Rolleston, 23.

The crown claims the men, either separately or collectively, were involved in a series of violent offences against a wealthy businessman and his maintenance worker in February last year at Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo.

Gunning and Dwyer are also charged with robbing the businessman's partner of her cellphone at Tauranga a month earlier.

The crown alleges the offending was retribution for a tryst the businessman had on his launch with Dwyer's partner during which she was injured when a sex toy broke.

All but Gunning are members of the Head Hunters gang and are charged with participating in an organised criminal group although the judge stressed in his summing up the Head Hunters per se is not an organised criminal group.

The jury will resume its deliberations on Wednesday.

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