The trial of three Northlanders charged with failing to pay more than $800,000 in taxes had to be adjourned yet again after one of the defendants collapsed outside the courtroom.
After the Crown finished its case in the Whangarei District Court on Monday, the defence was expected to open its case to the jury on Tuesday but unforeseen circumstances meant the trial could not proceed that day. Timothy Meredith, 46, Carol Karl, 51, and Andrew Karl, 43, are facing charges of failing to pay GST and income tax between April 2006 and April 2015. A court order prevents details of the case against a fourth man, Timothy Brown, being released.
Court resumed yesterday morning, with a karakia before Carol Karl indicated to Judge Keith de Ridder she would neither call or give evidence.
Andrew Karl said he would not give evidence but would call his kaumatua as a witness. Meredith asked for time to consider his options and Judge de Ridder allowed an adjournment.
However, Meredith collapsed outside the court room during the adjournment and had to be treated by St John paramedics.
The jury was then excused for the day and advised to return to court this morning.
A fifth person, Timothy Craig, 37, has to date failed to appear and a warrant is out for his arrest.
All five traded under the name Nga Uri o Tupoto which, according to the Inland Revenue Department, received just over $3.6 million in its bank account during the period they allegedly did not pay their taxes. The five had, in earlier court appearances, challenged the district court's jurisdiction to hear their case and claimed they have been acquitted of wrongdoing by the Ngai Tupoto Native Council in Hokianga. The council's mana superseded that of a court of law.