A jury in a west Auckland murder trial has been urged not to let a guilty plea to an assault charge influence its thinking over the more serious charge of murder.
Matthew Brian Edmonds, 46, today pleaded guilty to one count of male assaults female in the High Court at Auckland this morning.
He's on trial for the murder of Petter Bettink, who was found dead at a property on Wairere Rd in Waitakere last November.
Standing in the dock, dressed in a white shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, and black trousers, Edmonds entered a plea of not guilty to the murder charge, but one of guilty to a lesser charge of assaulting a woman.
He's accused of killing Mr Bettink on or around November 6 last year.
The assault on a woman was "background" to the case, Justice Geoffrey Venning said, and took place on the same date.
Justice Venning told the jury of seven men and five women that the male assaults female charge was "quite a different charge to the charge of murder", and that while Edmonds had admitted guilt to one charge, it did not imply guilt in the second.
"The plea of guilty to the assault charge is not related to the charge that you have to determine," he said.
"To a limited extent it is part of the background to the charge of murder."
That background and context would be provided when the Crown opens the case tomorrow, Justice Venning said.
The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, was adjourned for the day.
A number of witnesses are set to give evidence at the trial, including a psychic from Whakamaru, as well as a number of police officers from Auckland and Whanganui, a firefighter, pathologist, forensic scientists, and an ambulance officer.