Murder accused pleads not guilty

03:59, Aug 06 2014

A 34-year-old man has denied murdering Joe Collier, who died following a gang-related street brawl in Opotiki on July 13.

Tamaikoha Takao pleaded not guilty to one count of murder when he appeared in the High Court at Tauranga today, Sunlive reported.

Justice Brewer, who appeared via an audio-visual link, remanded Takao in custody until October 8, when a case review will be held and a trial date set.

Takao, of Opotiki, previously appeared in Rotorua District Court on July 16.

At that time Judge James Weir granted him interim name suppression, but no continuation of the suppression was sought today.

The public was excluded from the courtroom for today's hearing, with Takao appearing in the dock flanked by three Department of Corrections officers. People entering the court were searched and scanned.

Collier, 22, died after being found unconscious on King St, Opotiki, on July 13 as police responded to a fight on nearby Goring St.

A 20-year-old man is also facing a charge of assault with a weapon in relation to the fight, for allegedly driving a car into a crowd of people.