Whangarei District Court was a hive of activity - and drama - as a defiant woman was dragged out of a courtroom for arguing with, among all people, a judge.

The fracas started after Judge John McDonald finished sentencing a man to a month in jail on a charge of possessing a pipe used for smoking drugs.

The man, facing other drugs charges, appeared for a callover and as he was being escorted back down to the building by First Security officers, the judge called him back. Judge McDonald opted to sentence him before lunch on the lesser charge - a move that riled a woman in the public gallery who questioned why a "Maori fella" had been put off to appear at 2.15pm in an unrelated case.

The judge asked who she referred to, and the woman replied that the judge should know as he had the files.

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When asked whether the man she referred to was related to her, she replied "no" but queried why the court applied different rules in terms of when to deal with cases. Judge McDonald said he didn't have to explain procedural matters as such to her before ordering her to leave court or be sent to the cells for being in contempt of court.

She remained refused to leave.

When court security officers arrived and asked her to leave, she asked: "Why you coming charging through the door for?"

She scoffed at another request to leave, saying Judge McDonald just "wanted to do what he wanted to do".

The woman was then taken out, allegedly assaulting a security officer, who suffered minor injuries, while resisting arrest. She was held in an interview room, just outside the courtroom, while waiting for police to arrive.

It's understood she was charged with common assault and bailed to appear in the court a later date.

Judge McDonald is known for taking a tough stance on those who misbehave in court.

Last year, he sentenced a Mangonui man who spat at him to two months in jail for contempt.

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In 2011, he ordered that a Dargaville man refused bail, who then swore at him, to serve 21 days behind bars.