A Northlander charged in relation to the murder of 43-year-old Bridget Odelle Simmonds has entered not guilty pleas and elected a trial by jury.
Samuel Hemuera Pou, 57, of Otangarei, is charged that between February 23, 2019, and March 14, 2019, he murdered Simmonds.
He also faces a charge that, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, he wounded Simmonds on February 14, 2019.
Pou also faces three charges of injuring another woman between December 2016 and March 2017.
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Pou this morning appeared via audio visual link for the first time in the High Court at Whangārei where he entered his not guilty pleas.
The murder charge comes after the body of Simmonds was excavated at a rural property at Parakao, 40km west of Whangārei, on June 12.
Police converged on the 20ha block of land on Wilson Rd, 40km west of Whangārei, after new information came to light which caused investigators to believe foul play was involved in the disappearance of the mother of two.
Another person, 32-year-old Te Koha Samuel Pou, of Otaika, is charged with obtaining a pecuniary advantage by using an ANZ bankcard belonging to Bridget Simmonds on March 9, 2019.
He was also scheduled to appear via AVL in the High Court this morning but his non-appearance was not explained.
However, not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf by lawyer Jarred Scott who appeared on instructions from Pou's lawyer John Moroney.
Pou, too, elected a trial by jury.
The cases of both Pous are now joined which means both would be tried by a jury together.
Their trial is set down for June 8, 2021 and is expected to last three weeks.
A case review hearing for Samuel Pou will be held on September 10, 2020 while Te Koha Samuel Pou's bail hearing will take place on Thursday next week.
Both Pous were remanded back in custody.