A jury has been selected to hear the case against a former MP accused of bribery and corruption.
The jury, consisting of seven women and five men, was selected this morning at the High Court at Auckland.
Justice Rodney Hansen has given the jury the rest of the afternoon off in order to arrange their affairs ahead of a trial that is expected to last three months.
Taito Phillip Field faces 35 charges, 12 for corruption and bribery as a member of Parliament and 23 counts of wilfully perverting the course of justice. The charges were laid after Field allegedly accepted work on seven of his properties by Thai nationals in return for immigration assistance between November 2002 and October 2005.
During that time he was Labour MP for Mangere but he was stood down by the party while authorities investigated the corruption claims.
He continued as an independent MP and unsuccessfully fought the 2008 general election as leader of the Pacific Party. He was beaten by Su'a William Sio by more than 7000 votes.
The charges of attempting to pervert or obstruct the course of justice were laid after he was alleged to have made false statements, encouraged others to make false statements and created false documents during subsequent inquiries into the corruption allegations by Queen's Counsel Noel Ingram and by the police.
He denies all the charges.
The trial in the High Court at Auckland has been set down for 12 weeks. Part of the reason it is expected to take so long is that a number of the witnesses will need an interpreter when giving evidence.
A depositions hearing at the Manukau District Court in May last year took four weeks.
The Crown case, led by Simon Moore, SC, will call about 50 witnesses.
A leading prosecution witness is Thai tiler Sunan Siriwan.
Field's lawyer, Paul Davison, QC, declined to comment about the case ahead of the trial.By Andrew Koubaridis @A_Koubaridis Email Andrew