The case of a missing cockatiel which concerned the jury hearing the retrial of serial rapist Malcolm Rewa has been solved.
The now 65-year-old has been on trial this week in the High Court at Auckland, accused of murdering Susan Burdett in 1992.
But, late on Wednesday afternoon, the jurors turned their attention to something they had seen in the police's crime scene photo booklet.
"Photo 33 has a cockatiel in a cage but not in photos 32 and 37. Was it removed at some point?" The jury asked Justice Geoffrey Venning.
The seemingly bemused but also amused judge replied: "It's fair to say I don't think anyone else has addressed their mind to this issue ... I'm sure the fate of the cockatiel was looked after. I'm sure it was alright. But please put that to one side, and don't think of about it again."
Police were then instructed to make some inquiries.
And today Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said he had an answer.
"We will all appreciate having that clarified," Justice Venning, the chief High Court judge, said.
Kayes then turned towards the jury to explain.
He said photo 33 was taken more than a year after Burdett was killed.
By this time, on April 1, 1993, the house had been filled with new occupants, he said.
"The bird seen in photograph 33 was owned by the new occupants and not Susan Burdett ... I'm obliged to the jury and are now able to correct that position," Kayes said.
The trial continues.