A man convicted of dumping hundreds of kilos of waste into Tauranga Harbour who claims he is being detained unlawfully has had his application to be released dismissed.
Tio Faulkner, who was convicted of a raft of environmental degradation charges in November, was remanded in custody last week, awaiting sentencing.
Faulkner was convicted of six charges under the Resource Management Act, all stemming from his act of dumping a mix of concrete and reinforced steel into the city's harbour off the Matapihi Peninsula, in an attempt to build his own 'park' for his family.
Appearing in court last week, Faulkner was remanded in custody due to his previous record of failing to comply with court orders, including being late to court and failing to meet with a probation officer, as ordered by the court.
Immediately after the hearing, Georgina Turanga, a friend of Faulkner's, submitted an application to the High Court for a habeas corpus hearing, claiming his detainment for the purpose of remand was unlawful.
That hearing was heard on Friday by High Court Justice Ian Gault, with Faulkner appearing via audiovisual link from Spring Hill Prison.
The basis of the hearing rested on two claims; the first that Faulkner was exempt from detention due to his intention to appeal the convictions.
A claim was also made by both Turanga and Faulkner that there was no legal authority to detain Faulkner due to his status as tangata whenua.
Turanga submitted that the District Court had not appropriately considered tikanga, nor the role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the conviction.
Constitutional aspects of law, such as the treaty, were discussed during the hearing.
"I don't appear in this capacity as Her Majesty as treaty partner, my brief is just to represent the chief executive of the Department of Corrections, who has custody of every person detained in a New Zealand prison, which currently includes Mr Faulkner," Austin Powell, lawyer acting on behalf of the Department of Corrections said.
Faulkner said he was an Australian citizen, claiming the court had no jurisdiction to detain him due to him being both Māori, and Australian.
"I have notified my embassy also, because I have been processed as a New Zealand citizen, of which I am not."
At the end of the hearing, Faulkner thanked the judge.
"I am very grateful to [the judge] for giving me this experience behind bars, and I'll be thanking her for that, because it will add to my memoirs."
In Justice Gault's decision, released on Monday morning, the claim of unlawful detainment was dismissed, with Gault concluding the detainment for the purpose of parole was lawful.
Justice Gault concluded a better method of challenge would be for Mr Faulkner to file an appeal against the refusal to grant bail in the first place, rather than a habeas corpus hearing.
Faulkner remains remanded in custody until sentencing on February 2.