A High Court judge has taken exception to three murder accused flashing gang signs during a video link appearance in court.
Justice Timothy Brewer reacted to the gang signs and hand gestures displayed by Whakapumatanga Clarke, 25, Cody Paul Griffin, 25, and Daniel George Chase, 22, at the conclusion of their video link appearance in the High Court at Rotorua on Wednesday with a stern warning.
He ordered their lawyers to speak with the men, saying their actions were a blatant contempt of the court process.
"They were acting like apes in a cage and making all sorts of gestures," Justice Brewer said.
"Because this hearing is via AVL, nothing can be done about it, but in future I will have the three brought to the court so any repetition can be seen as a contempt of justice," Justice Brewer said.
The lawyers involved said they had missed the gestures, which appeared to be directed at the public gallery.
The three accused, all of Taupo, are jointly charged with murdering Scott Henry on July 20, along with an associated charge of aggravated robbery.
Natasha Telford, 43, is charged with being a party to the aggravated robbery, which alleged Mr Henry was robbed of a bag and its contents by the defendants.
A trial date has been set down for August 6 next year, in Hamilton, although Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon indicated attempts would be made to re-jig trial schedules so it could be dealt with in either Tauranga or Rotorua.
A further case review hearing will take place on November 29.
It is alleged Henry died from a single gunshot wound at his Kinloch home on the outskirts of Taupo, where he was found by a family member.