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Kidnap trial: Last Crown witness testifies

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/11/2016

The last of more than 100 prosecution witnesses has given evidence as the Crown closed its case on Wednesday against nine men charged with kidnapping and associated offences involving a wealthy businessman and an employee.

On trial in the High Court at Rotorua 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.

They have pleaded not guilty to more than 100 charges laid either separately or jointly. The charges relate to incidents in February and March last year.

After the Crown's final witness Justice Timothy Brewer excused the jury until Thursday to allow time for him to hear legal argument from defence lawyers before they open their cases.

He reminded jurors none of the accused were obliged to testify or call evidence in their defence and the onus of proof remained on the Crown.

The trial began on October 31 when the jury was sworn in but it was stood down for a week for legal reasons.

The crux of the Crown's case alleges that the accused, who are either members of the Head Hunters gang or associated with it, sought retribution on the businessman after he was involved in a liaison on his luxury launch with Dwyer's partner in January last year.

The Crown claims the woman suffered injuries from a sex toy that were so severe she needed surgery.

The final witness, Detective Sergeant Nigel Grey of Tauranga, said in his opinion Paora was involved with the gang and was aware he was referred to on a Facebook page as 'Bop', `Boppa' or Bop East' however he'd never heard him call himself that.

A copy of the Facebook page he referred to was on a wall at his Tauranga south police base.

Earlier Rotorua detective Chris Nairn said Daly hadn't been photographed or fingerprinted when he was arrested and taken to the Whangarei police station in 2015.

And he couldn't say when questioned whether the businessman appeared relaxed in CCTV footage of him withdrawing $10,000 from a Taupo bank or that he waved at someone while buying food at a nearby bakery.

The judge ruled that was a matter for the jury and the footage was replayed to the 11 remaining members.

The foreman was discharged after he admitted going online to check out an aspect of the trial, despite Justice Brewer's instructions not to do so.

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