Family members burst into tears as a youth accused of stealing livestock worth hundreds of thousands of dollars was found not guilty in the Invercargill District Court.
Simon Robert Hawkins, of Wanaka, faced 17 charges of theft and two charges of receiving relating to deer, sheep and barley taken from Criffel Deer Farm and Wanaka farmer Grant Cochrane between 2009 and 2011.
After a two-week trial before Judge Michael Turner, the jury returned its not guilty verdict yesterday afternoon. Mr Hawkins cried and hugged family members, who were also in tears, after being cleared of the charges.
He was jointly charged with Dean Thomas Herd, the former manager of Criffel Deer Farm, who earlier pleaded guilty to all charges and appeared as a Crown witness during the trial.
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