Alleged poachers deny court's jurisdiction
Bizarre scenes unfolded in Rotorua District Court today when two men facing poaching charges refused to enter pleas, saying they did not recognise the court's jurisdiction.
Thomas Tawha, 42, and David Pake Leef, 36, face nine charges between them over allegations they poached rainbow trout from a stream near Lake Rotoiti in Rotorua.
In the wake of their arrest Fish & Game said the men were caught with 29 trout, more than half of which were spawning females, describing the incident as one of the worst cases of poaching in the area for the best part of a decade.
In court today, both Tawha and Leef declined to enter pleas.
''My plea? There's no jurisdiction. That's my plea, no jurisdiction,'' said Tawha.
After a 15 minute recess both men were remanded on bail to return to Court on August 12 before a judge when the registrar said they would be required to enter a plea.
The maximum penalty for the charges is two years imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine.