Former fugitive claims charges were 'fabricated'

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Napier courthouse.
Napier courthouse.

A man who spent nearly a month evading police before using a court appearance to sack his lawyer has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, claiming they were "fabricated" by police.

Shawn Nicholas Harding, 40, appeared in the Napier District Court this morning via audio visual link to enter pleas before Judge Tony Adeane.

Represented by defence counsel Philip Jensen, Harding pleaded not guilty to one charge of breaching release conditions, two of breaching a protection order, two of burglary, and one of each of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, driving while disqualified, careless driving and dangerous driving causing injury.

During the appearance Jensen said he would be much obliged if the charges could be put to Harding directly so he could enter the pleas for himself.

When Judge Adeane asked why Harding was entering the pleas himself, Jensen replied: "He might not always want to take my advice."

In April, Harding had appeared via an audio visual link in the Napier District Court and told Jenson: "Phil, you're fired mate. Can you stand down? But I want you to act as amicus."

Harding had been the subject of police searches since late January and was arrested on March 2 before appearing in the Hastings District court the following day.

During his Hastings appearance he was told he was facing "a raft of charges" and when taken from the dock he said if a certain person was not released from prison he would "kill a cop every day".

In today's appearance Harding elected trial by jury for several charges relating to unlawfully taking a Ford Falcon vehicle valued at $20,000, including dangerous driving and driving while disqualified. The rest of the charges will proceed to judge-alone trials.

Harding will appear again in June and was remanded in custody by Judge Adeane. Jensen said no bail application had been made.

Near the end of his appearance Harding said he wanted an "OPT"; an order for prison staff to produce him at court next time as opposed to another audio visual appearance.

In response Jensen said: "I'll do what I can."

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