After sitting for two-and-a-half hours today, the jury trying six Black Power gang members was released until tomorrow while the court dealt with unrelated matters.

On trial in the High Court at Rotorua are Benjamin Biddle, Stallone Harawira, Whitu Taipeti, Codie Taitapanui, Te Reneti Tarau and Taumata Tawhai.

With the exception of Taipeti they have pleaded not guilty to rioting, being members of an organised criminal group, unlawful possession of a firearm, using a firearm against a law enforcement officer and discharging a firearm with reckless disregard for the safety of others. Taipete denies the firearms charges but has admitted the rioting and criminal group charges.

It's the Crown's contention the six were involved in gang warfare involving rival Mongrel Mob gang members that erupted on January 17 last year when a senior Mongrel Mob member's body was being taken from Kawerau to Whakatane's crematorium.


It's alleged guns were fired at seven Rotorua police officers attempting to hold back the warring factions. It's also claimed weapons including tomahawks and baseball bats were brandished and missiles thrown at the defendants' opponents.

The trial's set to continue tomorrow.