Tauranga is set to hold its first High Court criminal trials.

Tauranga already has a High Court registry for civil cases and provides facilities for the Maori Land Court and other specialist courts.

High Court pre-trial hearings have been held in Tauranga via audio-visual link since last year but jury trials have had to be held in Rotorua or Hamilton.

Crown solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones said his and criminal barrister Paul Mabey QC's suggestion to hold High Court trials in Tauranga had been "enthusiastically" embraced by Chief High Court judge Helen Winkelmann and the other High Court judges.


Justice Winkelmann agreed given Tauranga's size and importance that it was essential to hold High Court sittings in the city when a court room was available and other criteria were met, he said.

Mr Hollister-Jones said on average 10 Tauranga-related High Court jury trials a year were held at Rotorua or Hamilton and holding trials in Tauranga would mean significant savings.

The first of the cases to be heard in Tauranga is the week-long trial of a local man accused of being a party to a rape, which is set to begin on October 6.

That will be followed by a five-day jury trial for Maketu murder accused Tyrone Daniel Flavell, 19, which has been set down to start on November 17.

Flavell is accused of fatally shooting Isaac Dale Bushell, 46, who was found dead in Maketu on December 8, 2013.

The courts

• High Court: Presided over by a High Court justice

• Has the jurisdiction to try all criminal cases involving the most serious offences where the defendant elects trial by jury

• Certain offences, such as murder and treason can only be tried only in the High Court

• District Courts: Presided over by a District Court judge who can hear both criminal and civil proceedings