Pair in court after pylon shooting cut power to Far North

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Two Moerewa men have appeared in court accused of shooting out insulators on three pylons like these feeding power to the Far North from the national grid. PHOTO / JOHN STONE
Two Moerewa men have appeared in court accused of shooting out insulators on three pylons like these feeding power to the Far North from the national grid. PHOTO / JOHN STONE

Two Moerewa men have appeared in court charged with shooting at power pylons, which caused a power blackout for the entire Far North.

Nathan John Cooper, 46, and Korey Sesil Pirini, 28, were charged with intentionally damaging power insulators when they appeared in the Kaikohe District Court this afternoon.

Both men were also charged with unlawful possession of a .303 rifle and ammunition. Pirini faced an additional charge of cultivating cannabis.

Neither man entered a plea.

Cooper, who did not seek bail, was remanded in custody until January 17. Pirini was remanded on bail and is also due back in court on January 17.

Their lawyer's application for interim name suppression was refused.

The men are accused of shooting at insulators on a series of power pylons supplying the Far North about 3am on December 8. The incident took place on a remote forestry road near Matawaia.

Power was cut to about 32,000 homes and businesses for 12 hours.

The cost to Bay of Islands businesses alone has been put at tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The maximum penalty for intentional damage is seven years jail.

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