Jury out in police assault/GBH trial

By Imran Ali

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Frank Rota is accused of driving a ute into a police officer. Photo / NZME
Frank Rota is accused of driving a ute into a police officer. Photo / NZME

The jury was still out at edition time last night in the trial of a Whangarei man accused of trying to run over a police officer with his ute and threatening grievous bodily harm.

Frank Kokiri Rota is facing charges of assaulting Constable Cameron Stack, assault using a weapon, and threatening to cause grievous bodily harm. At the conclusion of Judge Duncan Harvey's summing up in the Whangarei District Court yesterday, the jury retired about 1pm to consider their verdicts but returned just after 5pm to inform him all except one juror had difficulty reaching their verdicts.

Judge Harvey then told the jury it was possible for them to reach a unanimous verdict which meant all 11 jurors would have to agree. It was also possible, he said, for them to bring a unanimous verdict on some charges and a majority verdict on others.

History has shown juries reaching their verdicts once given more time, he said.

However, if after an objective and careful consideration of the evidence they could not reach a verdict, he said he would have to discharge them. They jury was still deliberating at edition time last night.

Rota, 39, claimed during trial that Constable Stack called him a "n****r" and "black c**t"- allegations that the police officer denied.

Rota had denied assaulting Mr Stack with a weapon - a ute that Rota is accused of driving into a police officer.

Mr Stack said in his evidence Rota became verbally abusive, aggressive and made obscene gestures at him when he stopped his patrol car outside Hikurangi Primary School on November 11, 2015. Rota alleged Mr Stack racially abused him a week earlier when he was stopped while riding a motorcycle without a helmet on Valley Rd in Hikurangi as well as before arresting him outside the school. Mr Stack has denied racially abusing him.

- Northern Advocate

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