A 36-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to wilfully mistreating seals after more than 20 seals were beaten to death last year.

Jamaal Peter Roy Large appeared in Blenheim District Court yesterday where he denied the charge, and entered no plea to a second charge of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. He was bailed to reappear on September 21, The Marlborough Express reported.

Co-accused Jason Trevor Godsiff, 19, of Renwick, pleaded guilty to the same charges in Blenheim District Court on July 18.

In November last year 23 seals, including eight newborn pups, were clubbed to death at the Ohau Point colony on the Kaikoura coast.