The judge-alone trial of a Milltown man facing two charges of threatening to kill or commit grievous bodily harm, and another of possession of an offensive weapon, opened in the Greymouth District Court this morning.

The Crown plans to call six witnesses in the trial of Russell John Copland, 62. It is being heard by Judge Stephen O'Driscoll.

The court heard the charges stem from an incident at 2pm on February 20 involving two people who were collecting pounamu from the bed of the Arahura River, near Copland's home at Milltown.

Crown prosecutor Deirdre Orchard alleged Copland had threatened one of those people that he had a crossbow with him.

Copland is being represented by Colin Withnall QC.

- Greymouth Star