R v Newton [2017] NZDC 23056

Published 10 May 2018

Application for adjournment of trial — intimidation of witness — retrial — claim of invention — R v Christian [2016] NZHC 1568 — Bill of Rights Act 1990, s 25. The court was asked to adjourn a retrial against two defendants on the basis of an allegation that the complainant had been intimidated by an unknown women outside his place of business the day before the retrial was due to begin. The adjournment was sought to allow the police to investigate the allegations further and to give the complainant time to deal with his emotions after being threatened. The application was opposed by both defendants arguing that the alleged threat was a last minute ruse to avoid being confronted at trial by contradictions between his police statements and other evidence. The court acknowledged that the adjournment of the trial would likely result in the defendants being remanded in custody for an extended period of time. The court noted that protective measures could be put in place to protect the complainant and that putting off the trial would achieve no better result for the complainant or the defendants. The court invoked s 25 of the Bill of Rights and declined the application for adjournment. Judgment Date: 10 October 2017.