Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Suspect accused of shooting police in two-day Kawerau siege challenges court's authority

Add a comment
Kawerau police shooting accused Rhys Warren appeared in the High Court at Tauranga yesterday. File/Photo.
Kawerau police shooting accused Rhys Warren appeared in the High Court at Tauranga yesterday. File/Photo.

The man accused of the Onepu police shootings yesterday delivered a fired-up challenge to the court's jurisdiction and a High Court judge's powers to try him.

Rhys Warren, 27, is accused of attempting to murder four police officers and attempting to shoot another during an alleged two-day siege near Kawerau in March.

Warren, who appeared in the High Court at Tauranga yesterday, faced four charges of attempted murder and five charges of using a firearm against a law enforcement officer.

The attempted murder charges related to the wounding of Sergeant Logan Marsh and Constables Regan Mauheni, Andrew Flinn and Damian White at Onepu, near Kawerau, in March.

A fifth officer was also allegedly shot at but uninjured.

Warren, who appeared by audio-visual link, told Justice Tim Brewer that he did not recognise his authority, the court's jurisdiction, nor the authority of his court-appointed lawyer Ron Mansfield.

Warren said he had nominated three "native assessors" to represent him and speak on his behalf.

Justice Brewer said unless they were certified practising barristers or solicitors of the High Court he could not allow them to speak for Warren at any court proceedings.

Warren insisted they should be allowed to do so and said if Justice Brewer refused to allow them to speak he would be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"I am bound by the law. I'm not allowed to give them permission," Justice Brewer said.

Warren repeated his legal challenge to the authority of the court, and said he reserved his right to speak te reo.

Justice Brewer said while Warren had the right to represent himself, he was concerned about his ability to do so, particularly questioning the Crown's expert witnesses.

The Crown is going to be calling evidence from experts, including some experts on guns, and you really need to have some experts of your own to review the Crown's reports, otherwise you won't be able to say anything."

Warren hit back saying he did not "understand any of that".

"What I do understand is this court has no authority to try me, and any attempt to do so is both unlawful and illegal," he said.

Warren added that Justice Brewer should be removed for office for "misbehaviour".

Justice Brewer told Warren the trial was going to happen despite his stance.

"You are representing yourself, and if you don't take steps to do that effectively, then what's going to happen to you? You must think about that."

Justice Brewer ordered Warren be sent a copy of the forensic ballistic report so if he wanted to use it he could.

Two men in the back of the court loudly protested Justice Brewer's ruling, and others in the public gallery yelled out that Justice Brewer was "bias" against the accused and had breached the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori Language Act.

Justice Brewer further remanded Warren in custody to next appear at his jury trial which is set to begin in the High Court at Hamilton on March 6 next year.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 27 Oct 2016 14:16:10 Processing Time: 36ms