Lawyers in dark over hearing

Last updated 09:00 22/03/2014

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A man arrested in relation to the homicide of Whanganui man Whetu Hansen has reappeared in court.

The man has had his name, age, address and the charges he faces suppressed since his arrest last year.

He appeared in a case review hearing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday before Judge Barbara Morris.

Both Mark Alderdice, appearing for the defendant, and Daniel Flynn, appearing for the Crown, admitted not knowing why the hearing had been called.

Both men were stand-ins, as neither Crown solicitor Ben Vanderkolk nor Steve Winter, who is representing the accused, could be there.

Mr Flynn said he received a memorandum from Mr Winter suggesting it could be appropriate to appoint an amicus curiae to deal with issues surrounding the validity of a search warrant.

An amicus curiae is a "friend of the court", who assists the court by giving information or advice regarding questions of law or fact but is not a party to the case.

From the Crown perspective, the warrant hadn't yet been completed and it seemed "futile" to put it to an amicus, Mr Flynn said. Mr Alderdice said he understood an amicus was to attend the case review but had not shown up.

Mr Flynn asked that the matter be called again next week, giving time for Mr Vanderkolk and Mr Winter to file a joint memorandum explaining the purpose of the man's next appearance.

Judge Morris said they would be calling the matter back to determine those issues but currently "everyone was in the dark".

As he walked from the dock, the defendant called police a "waste of taxpayer money".

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- Manawatu Standard

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