Two off-duty Auckland police constables will appear before a judge next year to defend assault charges laid after an alleged attack on two students.

Patrick Garty, 32, and Wiremu Bowers-Rakatau, 21, maintained their not guilty pleas when they appeared in Auckland District Court today.

Garty faces three assault charges and Bowers-Rakatau faces two assault charges, laid in relation to an incident in central Auckland involving a group of university students going home on March 18 after celebrating St Patrick's Day.

One of the students, the son of an Auckland detective, needed stitches to a head wound.

Garty and Bowers-Rakatau were remanded on bail. The defended hearing, expected to last three days, is set to take place in June.

Their lawyers said the identity of the person who carried out the attack was likely to be one of the issues.

The pair were suspended from duty in October but returned to restricted duties in September.

A third officer accused, Chris Renata, 31, has service commitments overseas. He faces one assault charge and is due to reappear on March 3.

- NZPA