Publicly-funded legal aid has been approved for three of four Northlanders accused of failing to file income tax and GST returns.

Timothy Meredith, 45, Carol Karl, 50, and Andrew Karl, 42, now have lawyers acting for them but their trial has been adjourned until November.

That is to allow time for their lawyers to get up to speed with the case. Legal aid applications were made on Thursday.

A fourth accused, Thomas Brown, 58, is self represented.


All chose not to make an opening statement to the jury on Tuesday except Brown who said there was never any intention to evade paying tax.

Each of the four are jointly charged with three counts of knowingly failing to provide information on income tax and GST of nearly $700,000 under the Tax Administration Act and Crimes' Act.

The alleged offences were committed between January 2011 and July 2013.

The group are challenging the District Court's jurisdiction to hear their case, claiming they have been acquitted of wrongdoing by the Ngai Tupoto Native Council in Hokianga, and that its mana superseded that of a court of law.

Their trial started on Monday and Judge Keith de Ridder discharged the jury yesterday - three days into the trial - after the new defence lawyers asked for time to prepare their case.

Lucy Postleweight is representing Meredith, Wiremu Puriri represents Andrew Carl and Carol Karl is being represented by Kelly Ellis. Meredith was sick and not present in court yesterday

Judge de Ridder said under the Bill of Rights' Act and according to a direction by the Supreme Court in regards to the right for accused persons to have legal representation, he would have to adjourn the trial to enable defence lawyers to prepare their cases.

All four will re-appear for a callover on May 28. Their trial is listed as a back-up fixture for November 2.