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Kidnap trial in Rotorua delayed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/10/2016

The trial of nine men accused of kidnapping and a slew of other offences including extortion and violence has stalled in the High Court at Rotorua.

After the jury of six men and six women were empanelled on Tuesday, Justice Timothy Brewer adjourned the trial's start until October 31, citing legal reasons.

On trial are Benjamin Paul Dwyer, Brent Andrew Gunning, Matthew John McDonnell, Jordan Alexander Christian, David Peter Clark, Stephen William Daly, Liam John Kane, Sam Wiremu Rolleston and Stacy Walton Paroa.

Between them they face more than 100 charges including kidnapping, using a firearm to commit an offence and participating in an organised criminal group.

The charges relate to alleged offending in Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo and the Bay of Plenty town of Matata in January to March 2015.

The nine pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Justice Brewer told the jury he did not expect the delayed start would push the trial further out than its five scheduled weeks.

He said it had been agreed by defence lawyers and the Crown that 62 of the scheduled 118 witnesses would testify in person with evidence from the remainder to be read.

The well of the court was filled to capacity with three Crown lawyers and 14 defence counsel.

Not all of the accused were able to fit in the dock and they were given chairs backing on to the public gallery.

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