Tawera Nikau's conviction quashed
Former rugby league great Tawera Nikau has had his assault conviction revoked.
Justice Edwin Wylie today ruled that there had been a "miscarriage of justice" in Mr Nikau’s trial and overturned his conviction.
"I have concluded that the appeal should be allowed because there was a miscarriage of justice, such that I cannot be confident that the verdict is safe,’’ Mr Wylie’s judgement says.
Mr Nikau’s lawyer Gary Gotlieb filed an appeal on July 9.
He claimed the judge was wrong in finding Mr Nikau guilty after he had indicated that he did not require Mr Nikau to give evidence.
‘‘It was not for Judge Spiller to require Mr Nikau to give evidence,’’ Mr Wylie’s judgement says.
‘‘The Judge’s comment that he did not require to hear from Mr Nikau was, in the circumstances, unfortunate. Mr Nikau was inadvertently misled, and as a result, the wrong decision was made in relation to the calling of defence evidence. I am not satisfied that the resulting verdict is safe.’’
Justice Wylie said Mr Nikau’s case for discharge without conviction should have succeeded.
The case stemmed from an incident on February 24, in which Nikau and his daughter Heaven-Leigh clashed outside Huntly police station.
During the dispute Nikau allegedly grabbed her by the throat, causing her to fall to the ground.
Mr Gotlieb claimed that Mr Nikau was acting in self defence and did not intend to hurt her.
Mr Nikau pleaded not guilty to a charge of male assaults female in the Huntly District Court on March 13, but was found guilty in June.
The case has been referred back to the district court for rehearing.