Ocean Heke hit and run accused makes belated court appearance

Ocean Heke was killed earlier this month as she walked home from a party. Photo / Supplied
Ocean Heke was killed earlier this month as she walked home from a party. Photo / Supplied

A warrant issued by a High Court judge for a Te Kuiti man accused of the hit and run of an Otorohanga teenager was not actioned after he turned up to court today.

Broc Kawhena, 21, of Te Kuiti failed to appear for his appearance in the High Court at Hamilton at 9am today, but his lawyer Rob Weir, was confident it was likely the result of a miscommunication or he had trouble travelling to the city.

Kawhena is now fighting two charges over the death of 18-year-old Ocean Heke who's alleged to have died after being hit by Kawhena's vehicle.

After not turning up, Justice Timothy Brewer gave him until 11am to present himself to court staff otherwise a warrant would be executed for his arrest.

However, court staff confirmed that Kawhena did turn up to court before 11am and the warrant was not activated.

Kawhena's name suppression also lapsed after Mr Weir declined to file a new application. Kawhena was granted interim name suppression when he first appeared in the Hamilton District Court earlier this month.

Mr Weir, on Kawhena's behalf, also entered a not guilty plea to a charge of manslaughter and being in charge of a transport service vehicle under influence of drink causing Miss Heke's death.

Kawhena is accused of hitting Miss Heke with his vehicle earlier this month as she walked home from a party.

Her body was eventually found several hours later lying in a grass verge on State Highway 3.

Kawhena will reappear for a case review hearing in June before a week long trial in November.

- NZ Herald

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