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Gisborne District Court news

There was about as much likelihood of his client turning up that day as a tumbleweed, counsel Elliott Lynch told Gisborne District Court. His client had absconded.

Police confirmed Hira John Wharepapa, 33, who was previously on electronically-monitored bail, cut off his GPS tracking anklet more than a fortnight ago and was on the run.

He was scheduled for a judge-alone trial on charges of dangerous driving and failing to stop, to which he previously pleaded not guilty.

Judge Warren Cathcart issued a warrant for Wharepapa’s arrest.

Accused of hitting someone over the head with a rolling pin and stabbing someone else, Jonathon Richard Sadlier, 40, was to have faced a judge-alone trial, but a key police witness failed to show.

Sadlier previously pleaded not guilty to two charges of asault with a weapon, in relation to an incident on February 13, this year, involving two complainants.

Prosecutor Claire Stewart told the court an independent eye witness, essential to the police case, had moved out of town. Police contacted the witness several times during the past few weeks but it seemed she was reluctant to comply with either a request for her to give evidence in court here or via AV-link elsewhere.

Judge Cathcart issued a warrant for the witness’s arrest. The trial was adjourned until March 11.

Convicted of his eighth drink-drive and other driving offences, Shayne Hooper Biddle, 30, was further remanded on bail for sentence on January 25.

Biddle pleaded guilty to driving with excess breath alcohol for a third or subsequent time, driving in breach of a zero-alcohol licence, and careless driving.

Judge Cathcart warned Biddle the sentence starting point would be a term of imprisonment.

A pre-sentence report will assess the suitability of electronically-monitored sentence options.

Facing a raft of charges for driving offences and bail breaches, Whakaiti Phillips, 26, pleaded guilty to all of them.

The charges were two of drink-driving (both third or subsequent offences), unlicensed driving, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, and two breaches of bail.

Phillips had previously pleaded not guilty to one of the drink-drive charges but changed his plea.

He was further remanded on bail for sentence on January 25.

A pre-sentence report will assess the suitability of electronically-monitored sentence options.