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Crafar pleads not guilty

Last updated 11:10 20/09/2011

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Former Reporoa dairy farmer Glen Crafar is on trial in Rotorua District Court on a charge of dirty dairying.

Crafar, 28, pleaded not guilty yesterday to one charge of discharging dairying contaminants between June and September 2008.

Crafar is representing himself before Judge Chris McGuire, but is being assisted by a McKenzie Friend, former lawyer Vinay Deobhakta. A McKenzie Friend can assist a defendant but not address the court.

The Crown alleges Crafar breached the Resource Management Act and Environment Waikato's regional plan and regulations by allowing dairy contaminants to enter waterways.

Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch told the jury that because of Reporoa's quickly draining pumice soil, effluent had soaked into several streams and tributaries that fed a main waterway.

He said regional council officers had seen ponding on bare paddocks. There was evidence in some of them of a combination of dairy effluent and dirt.

Several holes had been drilled around the water and it was apparent that stock had been penned up for a significant amount of time.

He advised jurors that although they may have heard of some of the names associated with the case, they were to put that out of their minds.

In a brief opening statement, Crafar said he had not breached any section of the Resource Management Act.

"There was no way water in these ponds could have entered groundwater eight metres deep and there is no running water within eight kilometres of that paddock," he said.

The paddock was bare because it had been used for cropping and he had drained the water that collected to get more grazing out of the area, he said.

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- Waikato Times

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