Activists disrupt Phillip Field case

Taito Phillip Field. File photo / Dean Purcell
Taito Phillip Field. File photo / Dean Purcell

The trial of former Labour MP Taito Phillip Field has resumed after it was interrupted by Maori activists.

Earlier this morning a man entered the High Court at Auckland saying that it wasn't the appropriate court for the case to be heard in.

Mr Field's trial was then adjourned for about 15 minutes.

After resuming proceedings, Justice Rodney Hansen warned protesters if they repeated their protest they would be removed from court.

One man said: "Then you will be removed from your office if you go against the Tangata Whenua".

The man was escorted from court by police. Several police officers are now stationed in court.

The judge began summing up the case against Mr Field yesterday.

Justice Hansen told 10 jurors they needed to put any political views on the former Mangere MP to one side.

"This is not about whether you approve or disapprove of what has happened. It's about whether the criminal law has been breached and it's your job to act dispassionately and impartially and to disregard any considerations which might interfere with that approach," he said.

Field faces 12 charges of bribery and corruption as an MP, after allegedly having Thai nationals carry out work on his properties in New Zealand and Samoa in return for immigration assistance between November 2002 and October 2005.

He also faces 23 charges of wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice which allege that he made false statements to an inquiry carried out by Noel Ingram, QC, had false documents procured and encouraged others to make false statements to the Ingram inquiry and to police.

The prosecution has argued Field was aware of the improprieties of accepting gifts and took advantage of the gratitude of the Thai tradesmen.

Field's lawyers say he expected to be billed and did not know the tradesmen were not charging or that the reason was bribery.

Justice Hansen is expected to finish summing up this morning.

- Andrew Koubaridis and NZPA

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