More dirt from neighbours-at-war

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 08:09 26/02/2014

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The mud-slinging has continued in a neighbours-at-war case in which alternative lifestylers accused a Tahora farmer of assaulting and threatening them.

Farmer Peter John Kennedy, 52, has denied assaulting Wayne McIvor and threatening harm to his partner Elizabeth Shewan in the remote community of Tahora, east of Stratford, in December 2012.

Yesterday, in the New Plymouth District Court, the jury heard from Mr McIvor and Kennedy, who accused each other of bad behaviour.

Kennedy's lawyer, Kelly Marriner, said it was a neighbourhood relationship that had soured. On the first day of the trial, the court heard the once- cordial relationship started to sour after a dispute over a fence.

Under cross-examination, Mr McIvor claimed he had been grabbed around the head and kneed in the groin by Kennedy. Mr McIvor denied he got angry when Kennedy called the family liars because of a disagreement about a wild pig near the woolshed and had instead tried to defuse the situation.

He also rejected allegations he had grabbed Kennedy's shirt, got in his face and said "go on, hit me".

"No, that is not true," he said.

Mrs Marriner accused Mr McIvor of doing to Kennedy what he said Kennedy had done to him and then invented the police complaint to take the heat off his actions.

He said that wasn't the case.

The scrap had started when Kennedy discovered the pair building a small fence on the property boundary where he had planned to build a deer fence.

He said he told Mr McIvor he wanted the deer fence to keep him and his family out because he didn't trust them and had seen them on the property.

He told the jury how Mr McIvor had grabbed him by the shirt and he had reacted by putting his arms down by his sides. He admitted calling Ms Shewan a "dragon witch" and swearing at her.

When he went back to try to sort out the disagreement, Mr McIvor told him he'd said his piece and told him to "f... off", he said.

Kennedy admitted calling him a wanker and making masturbation gestures.

On Monday, Ms Shewan told the court she and Mr McIvor had bought the farm property from Kennedy to start a crystal shop.

Crown prosecutor Nina Laird said on Monday the couple had been so intimidated by Kennedy's actions they had abandoned the property.

The trial is expected to finish today.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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