Serious charges against two Northlanders were dismissed after a key crown witness refused to come to court and give evidence.

The trial of Raymond Dunn and Kevin Anthony Wilkinson was scheduled before a jury in the Whangarei District Court yesterday but the matter could not proceed.

Dunn faced one representative charge of demanding with menace between March 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.

He was also charged with possession of an offensive weapon, namely a knife, in Whangarei in April last year.

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He and Wilkinson were jointly charged with aggravated robbery after they allegedly robbed a man of his cellphone, a wallet, a set of car keys and a Ford Ranger vehicle in Whangarei in April last year.

Dunn was also accused of setting fire to the Ford Ranger, which belonged to Cowley Services.

Before the jury was impanelled yesterday, crown prosecutor Kyle Macneil asked for leave to withdraw the charges because his prime witness could not be brought to court.

Judge Claire Ryan asked why the Crown did not arrange for the witness to be picked up and brought to court to give evidence.

Lawyers John Moroney, for Dunn, and John Watson, for Wilkinson, opposed the crown application to withdraw the charges, which they submitted should be dismissed.

Mr Moroney said his client had been in custody for 16 months since the charges were laid.

After an hour-long adjournment, the court resumed and Judge Ryan said she could not continue with the trial because the crown witness was not in court.

She agreed the Crown was not in a position to offer evidence and dismissed the charge.

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