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Rotorua kidnap case jury back on Monday

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/12/2016

The jury in Rotorua trying nine men on kidnapping and allied violence charges have been released for the weekend.

It began its deliberations on 62 charges in the High Court at Rotorua at midday on Friday.

Justice Timothy Brewer called them back late in the afternoon, told them to go home and urged them to put the trial out of their minds during the weekend.

Their deliberations will continue at 10am on Monday.

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.

They have pleaded not guilty to 62 charges laid either separately or jointly. A further 40 charges they originally faced were dismissed before their defence lawyers addressed the jury.

None of the defendants gave evidence or called others to testify on their account.

All but Gunning are members of the Head Hunters gang and are either from Tauranga or Northland.

The crown's case is that after Dwyer's partner had been injured by a sex toy during a tryst on a wealthy businessman's boat in January last year he started to receive threats and had property stolen.

A month later both he and his 20-year-old handyman were kidnapped with property, cars and money extorted from the businessman, the crown contends.

The identity of those allegedly involved forms the crux of lawyers' arguments for all defendants.

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

Justice Brewer discharged the original foreman during the trial's second week after he learned the man had defied instructions not to go on line and research matters relating to the trial. It continued with a panel of 11.

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