The trial for four men charged in relation to the death of Tauranga man Gary Clayton Kimura, who was attacked at his Bellevue home in 2011, began in the High Court at Hamilton this morning.
Taonui Hiku, 27, of Tauranga, Witeri Ahomiro Neketai, 35, of Te Puke, and Joseph Rewiri, 45, of Auckland are all charged with murder, and Jesse Christopher Hartley, 28, of Mount Maunganui, is charged with manslaughter after allegedly driving Hiku and Neketai to and from Mr Kimura's Margaret Rd home.
The group denied killing Mr Kimura, 44, who was assaulted on October 5, 2011, and died in hospital on November 16, 2011.
Today the court heard that Rewi was in prison at the time, but was charged as a secondary party to the attack. The Crown alleges Rewi was part of the plan and encouraged the men to go to Kimura's house to collect a debt of more than $30,000.
Mr Kimura was initially admitted to Tauranga Hospital, then airlifted to Waikato Hospital on the night of the attack with a life-threatening head injury.
He remained in a coma for several weeks, was transferred back to Tauranga Hospital on November 9, where he died on his 44th birthday.
Mr Kimura, married with six children, ran Gary's Tyres at Sulphur Point for about 15 years.
The Crown is relying on text messages between the four accused as evidence in the case.
The trial is set down to last seven days.