The court case of five men facing charges stemming from a $20m cocaine bust has been adjourned until next month amid their lawyers' complaints about delays in getting full disclosure.
Matthew Scott, 44, Mario Habulin, 45, Benjamin Northway, 35, and Deni Cavallo, 46, appeared in the Tauranga District Court this week via audio-visual link from prison, and Dean Yang appeared in person, for a case review hearing.
Police allege 46kg of cocaine was stored in a hidden compartment on the exterior hull of the container ship Maersk Antares, which docked at the Port of Tauranga on October 31.
Scott, Habulin, Northway, and Cavallo have denied more than 40 charges, mainly relating to the importation of cocaine into New Zealand and possessing the drug for supply.
The five men have also denied a charge of participating in an organised criminal group.
Yang, Habulin, and Scott will also defend charges of engaging in money laundering transactions allegedly involving tens of thousands of dollars.
The defendants have all elected trial by jury.
The case review hearing was to advance matters, but lawyers for the five accused complained to Judge Louis Bidois that they had not received full disclosure materials to support the allegations from the Crown.
Judge Louis Bidois remanded the defendants for another case review hearing on April 10 after Crown solicitor Anna Pollett asked for more time to file charging documents.
A sixth defendant Thi Lieu Le, 51, who was arrested in Sydney, made her first court appearance in Tauranga District Court yesterday and faced five charges
That is, four joint counts of money laundering and a charge of participating in an organised criminal group.
Le was further remanded in custody to next appear in the same court on March 20, when she would be expected to enter pleas to the charges.
A seventh person also facing charges in relation to the same cocaine seizure has not yet appeared in any court and has been granted name suppression.