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New Zealand Police v Taueki [2020] NZDC 13860

Published 09 July 2021

Judge-alone trial — threatening to kill — intimidation — witness bias — Summary Offences Act 1981, s 21(1)(a) — Criminal Procedure Act 2011, s 147 — Taueki and Rudd v Procter and others - Horowhenua 11 (Lake) (2020) 415 Aotea MB 1 (415 AOT 1). The defendant faced two charges: one of intimidation and one of threatening to kill. The charges arose in the context of a long-running dispute over the management of a highly-polluted lake. Following a Maori Land Court hearing about the lake, the defendant was alleged to have made abusive and threatening remarks to two members of the lake's trust board, including that they were "dead". He was also alleged to have threatened to "sort out" an employee of the local council. The Court heard evidence from multiple witnesses, and also viewed CCTV footage. The defendant argued that some of the police witnesses were biased against him and that their evidence could not be trusted. However the Court found that on the evidence the defendant had threatened to kill one of the complainants, and had intimidated another. The Court discharged the defendant at the commencement of the hearing on the second charge of threatening to kill as the prosecution had offered no evidence to support it. Judgment Date: 21 July 2020.