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Witness denies being paid to lie to jury

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/11/2016

A witness has denied being paid to tell a story to a jury hearing a kidnap, violence and extortion trial.

The 20-year-old rubbished a suggestion that he knew his businessman boss was organising a middleman named "Sandwich" to stop threats being made to him.

The maintenance worker was being challenged by lawyer Maria Pecotic acting for Stephen William Daly, 33, one of the nine members or affiliates of the Head Hunters gang on trial in the High Court at Rotorua.

They face more than 100 charges relating to a series of violent events in February last year which the Crown claims involved the witness and businessman, whose identities are suppressed.

Also on trial are: Jordan Alexander Christian, 21, David Peter Clark, 36, Benjamin Paul Dwyer, 28, Brent Anthony Gunning, 37, Liam John Kane, 24, Matthew John McDonnell, 45, Stacy Walton Dennis Paora, 29 and Sam Wiremu Rolleston 23. They've each pleaded not guilty.

Ms Pecotic challenged the witness about his loyalty to the businessman who, she claimed, was trying to buy his way out of an incident on a launch in Tauranga Harbour on January 2015.

The Crown's case is that it involved a woman, described as Dwyer's partner, and the injuries she'd suffered when a sex toy broke.

Ms Pecotic said neither a doctor's examination nor police photographs backed the witness's evidence that he'd been badly beaten at a Mt Maunganui storage shed and at a house in Rotorua where he claimed a gun was shoved in his mouth and teaspoons ground into his eyes.

Other counsel challenged the witness's claim he was clean and didn't do drugs, in particular P, with the 20-year-old admitting he's a methamphetamine user but denied his employer regularly supplied it to him

"I have smoked it out of his pipe but he didn't give me P," he told lawyer John Moroney acting for Clark.

Questioned by McDonnell's lawyer Bruce Hesketh, the witness described McDonnell as a nice guy who was never violent or aggressive towards him.

He did not take advantage of opportunities to escape when he was with McDonnell after he was allegedly abducted following a raid on his boss's Lake Tarawera retreat.

"I felt safe with him, he was not harming me in any way."

The witness has been testifying since Tuesday via video link from a location away from the courtroom.

The trial began on Monday and he is the Crown's first witness.

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