Assault charges

A Bellevue man left with life-threatening injuries after being attacked at his Margaret Rd home earlier this month remains in a coma in Waikato Hospital.

Three Western Bay men charged in relation to the October 5 attack on the 43-year-old man have been back in court. Witeri Ahomiro Neketai, 34, of Te Puke, Jesse Christopher Hartley, 26, of Mount Maunganui and Taonui Hiku, 25, of Tauranga each faced a charge of assault when they appeared in Tauranga District Court yesterday..

Lawyers for all three defendants told Judge Alayne Wills that it is expected that more serious charges would be laid once police finished their inquiries.


Police are still releasing few details about the incident which left the men's alleged victim fighting for his life with a serious head injury. He remains in a critical but stable condition.

Police opposed bail for all defendants citing concerns about the risk of interference with witnesses, some of whom are yet to be spoken to, and the investigation itself.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Woon said that the investigation was still at its early stages and another two weeks remand in custody was sought for the trio to enable those inquiries to be completed. Neketai and Hiku did not seek bail. But Hartley's lawyer Craig Tuck sought electronically-monitored bail for his client, arguing that a 24-hour curfew and other strict bail conditions would alleviate police concerns.

Judge Wills said she was satisfied there was just cause for Hartley's continued detention at this stage to enable police time to complete their inquiries and the question of bail could be revisited in due course. The three men are due back on court early next month.

Car-jacking trial

A Tauranga man accused of robbing a man at knifepoint of his Holden Berlina and demanding another man hand over his Toyota car has been committed to trial.

Peter Thomas Stirling, 45, in Tauranga District Court yesterday faced one charge each of aggravated robbery and demands with menaces with intention to steal was further remanded in custody by Judge Alayne Wills.

Police allege the offences were committed in McClymont Place, Mount Maunganui, on August 20 this year. Stirling who was committed to trial is next due to appear in the High Court at Rotorua on November 17 to set a trial date.