The man charged with the arson of a stolen ute last month, in which two dogs were burned alive, had been assessed as fit to plead, Judge Keith de Ridder was told in the Kaitaia District Court last week.

Waaka Rewiri Moka (25) made a brief appearance on Friday, and was further remanded in custody to June 13 for a case review on a charge of cruelty to/ill-treating an animal, which he has denied.

Guilty pleas were entered to charges of unlawfully taking a vehicle, arson and burglary.

Moka allegedly stole the Toyota Hilux ute, which had three dogs in cages on the back, from a Broadwood address, police saying it was driven into a paddock and set alight. One dog escaped but the other two died.


Judge de Ridder said a Northland Age application for permission to photograph Moka in the court would be considered at his next appearance.