A teen charged with interfering with a dead body has been told by a Rotorua District Court judge to "get off his butt", stop being "lazy" and do what he's been asked by the court.

Tiger Ross, 18, appeared in the Rotorua District Court this morning after previously being given police diversion for a charge of interfering with the remains of Jason Lines' body.

He is jointly charged with five others, one of whom has pleaded guilty, and four others who are to stand trial.

Lines died when his fishing dinghy capsized crossing the Bowentown Bar, south of Waihi Beach, on November 20.


Two people survived the capsize and Lines' body washed ashore seven days later.

Lines was buried at a Rotorua urupa. Eight people were charged with interfering with the remains on December 2.

In court today, Sergeant Tere Rei told Judge Tony Snell police wanted to withdraw their offer of diversion because Ross had not responded to their requests regarding restorative justice.

Diversion is offered by police in situations where charges can be dealt with using an alternative method, resulting in the charge being withdrawn and no conviction entered.

Ross' lawyer, Ben Hollier, said despite his client intimating a guilty plea when diversion was offered, he now wanted to plead not guilty.

Judge Snell took exception, asking how could Ross be remorseful one day then claim he wasn't responsible the next.

Judge Snell said he felt it was more a matter of he had not been given the "right kick in the pants" to do what he had to.

Rei said police were willing to give Ross one more chance.


Judge Snell asked Ross whether he wanted to go down a lengthy court period of being on bail and having to go to trial or do what the police said.

"While there is a general apathy and lack of get up and go among many of the young people before the court, if you are being offered diversion, do it. Do you want to get off your butt and get diversion?"

Ross told the judge he would do diversion, to which Judge Snell replied "you are seeing the light".

Judge Snell said he intended to personally "judicially monitor" the process by seeing Ross each fortnight, warning "the moment you slip up or the moment you get lazy" he would have the option taken away.

The judge went then set a special court hearing in two weeks when he expected Ross to tell him he had been the "most enthusiastic person" on diversion.

Ross was remanded on existing bail conditions to contact the police diversion officer and return to court at 9am on March 20.

Sebastien Wineera, 22, Rhys James Phillips, a forest worker, 25, Ryan Rawiri Lingman, a fencer, 25, and Shannon Shiloh Apirana, 28, have pleaded not guilty and will reappear on May 2 for a trial callover. Maurice Ututaonga, 21, pleaded guilty and will reappear on April 4 for sentencing.

Two youths originally charged have had their charges withdrawn in the Rotorua Youth Court.