Sonny Tau trial abandoned and will be rescheduled

Raniera Tau, also known as Sonny Tau

Photo: RNZ

Sonny Tau’s trial has been aborted due to “legal reasons”, lawyers say.

The former Ngāpuhi rūnanga leader, also known as Raniera Tau, was on trial in the Whangārei District Court, facing six charges of indecently assaulting a girl aged over 16 in January 2017, and three charges of attempting to pervert justice.

The trial was due to take all of this week.

The Crown and defence addressed the jury this morning, before the first witness evidence was called.

But due to what lawyers have described as suppressed “legal reasons”, Judge McDonald stopped the jury trial this afternoon, and it will now be restarted and rescheduled at a later date.

The jury has been discharged.

The Ministry of Justice said the stopping of the trial was not the fault of either counsel or the defendant.

Tau, now 69, stepped down suddenly in 2019 after chairing Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāpuhi for 10 years.

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