Witness sent to cells during trial

Last updated 16:04 30/01/2014

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A witness in the jury trial for a man accused of stealing thousands of dollars of livestock apologised after being sent to the cells because of his attitude.

Simon Robert Hawkins faces 22 charges of theft, relating to deer, sheep, velvet and barley taken from Criffel Deer Farm and Wanaka farmer Grant Cochrane between 2009 and 2011. His trial began in the Invercargill District Court last week.

Hawkins was jointly charged with Dean Thomas Herd, the former manager of Criffel Deer Farm, who earlier admitted all charges and has appeared as a Crown witness.

Yesterday, Herd was ordered to the cells by Judge Michael Turner for his attitude towards answering questions during cross- examination. After about half an hour, court resumed and Herd apologised for his behaviour.

Judge Turner warned Herd he would be held in contempt if he continued behaving inappropriately.

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said Herd had approached Hawkins about selling the stock as though he was asking him to do a favour for a friend.

Mr Mansfield put it to Herd that he had told Hawkins he had picked up deer on the West Coast and wished to kill them but, because he did not have an Alliance account or a GST number and did not wish to pay secondary tax on the animals, wanted Hawkins to help.

The benefit for Herd was he would be one step removed and could not be identified as being involved in these transactions with stolen deer, Mr Mansfield said.

Herd maintained that Hawkins had been aware who the stock had belonged to throughout their dealings. When questioned, Herd agreed he could be a "credible liar" when he wanted to be.

The defence is expected to begin its case today.


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- The Southland Times


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