Murder-accused to defend himself

Last updated 11:56 04/06/2014

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The man accused of murdering Hastings man Johnny Wright three years ago has this morning decided to represent himself in a murder trial.

Steven Rakuraku, 39, is on trial in the High Court in Napier for murder of Wright, who went missing in June 2011.

Police found Mr Wright's body following the search in August 2011 of a rural site off Waipunga Road in Eskdale, after receiving a tip-off.

The 50-year-old sickness beneficiary had not been seen since early June that year. 

The trial, before Justice Joe Williams, began this morning and is expected to last up to four weeks.

Rakuraku is also charged with injuring and detaining Wright in May and June, 2011.

He is also charged with detaining and injuring another man in Hawke's Bay and Taupo in late 2010 and 2011, and of assaulting and detaining a female in mid-2011.

Rakuraku has chosen defend himself with the help of amicus curiae, Russell Fairbrother QC.

An amicus curiae, or a "friend of the Court" does not appear on behalf of a party to a proceeding, but assists the Court by pointing out matters of law or fact that have been overlooked, or presents opposing arguments so that both sides of a case can be heard.

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- The Dominion Post

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