Handwritten plea doesn't stand

Last updated 15:14 19/06/2014

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A Manawatu Prison inmate accused of attacking another prisoner with a plastic knife has had his attempt to plead guilty via a handwritten letter turned down.

Shane Barnes, 51, was to appear in the Palmerston North District Court today on a charge of assault with a knife.

According to court documents, Barnes is alleged to have assaulted a fellow prisoner with a plastic knife.

Duty lawyer Richard Bedford said Barnes was not at court because he had refused to leave his prison cell.

But he had written a letter, which he wanted the judge to read, Bedford said.

Judge Gerard Lynch read the letter, and said Barnes was indicating he wanted to plead guilty.

"What the letter says is that he will take any punishment given, even though he does not accept the court's authority."

The letter also had content which the judge did not read out to the court.

He said it would be helpful if there was assistance to make sure Barnes wanted to plead guilty to the charge.

Lynch appointed an amicus curiae, entered a deemed not guilty plea for Barnes and remanded him until August.

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- Manawatu Standard

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