The jury has been selected for the man accused of murdering Grace Millane.

Millane, a British backpacker on her OE, was last seen entering a central Auckland hotel on the night of December 1 last year.

Millane vanished the day before her 22nd birthday and was last seen alive on CCTV entering the downtown CityLife Hotel with the accused on December 1.

The defendant was living at the Queen St hotel at the time, according to court documents.

Advertisement

Millane's body was later found in a section of bush just 10m off Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on December 9.

A 27-year-old man has been charged with murder.

Dressed today in court in a black shirt and navy suit, the accused reaffirmed his not guilty plea.

The jury, which consists of seven women and five men, will begin hearing testimony on Wednesday.

Justice Simon Moore spoke briefly to the jury this morning and then dismissed them until Wednesday when the Crown will open its case, starting the evidence-presentation phase of the trial.

The judge reminded the jurors of their obligations, including that they were not to speak to anyone outside their number about the case.

He said they had to approach the task "absolutely dispassionately" and put aside anything they had seen, read or heard about the case.

Justice Moore said there had been a lot written about the alleged murder of Millane but it was irrelevant and had "no bearing" on the trial.

Advertisement

In particular he said any comments conveying views about Millane, or the accused, or the views of other people, should be disregarded.

"Anything you have seen or heard outside the courtroom has no place in your deliberations and you must consciously put those aside," he said.

"For you to adhere to the oath or affirmation you made… you have to keep an open mind."

Millane, a British backpacker on her OE, was last seen entering a central Auckland hotel on the night of December 1 last year.
Millane, a British backpacker on her OE, was last seen entering a central Auckland hotel on the night of December 1 last year.

Justice Moore said it would be unfair of jurors to allow their views to be "contaminated" by the outside views of others.

He also reminded them that they must not undertake any inquiries of their own during the trial.

He said all of the "noise" online and in the community about the trial was from uninformed people.

"From where you are sitting you literally have a grandstand seat, and it's the evidence in this court and nothing else, that you need to consider," he said.

"So for that reason you mustn't go out and search the internet - that's a judicial order, and the consequences for that are huge."

Justice Moore said if that occurred it would be considered a contempt of court, which was a "serious breach of the law".

"How can anyone have a fair trial while those sorts of inquiries are being made behind closed doors?

"How is that fair?

"It's all about fairness - fairness and open mindedness is central to our justice system."

Justice Moore said that fairness was to the accused, his defence and the Crown.

Enormous amount of publicity

Earlier, while speaking to the pool of potential jurors, Justice Moore said the case had already received an enormous amount of publicity and added it was "common knowledge" that Millane had died last December in the inner-city apartment occupied by the defendant.

Her disappearance and death, the judge said, was followed by excited and intense media interest.

Vigils in Millane's memory were held across the country, along with marches and other public events - something Justice Moore spoke of to the jury.

Politicians also waded into the debate, he said.

"The story took the nation by storm.

"If you attended any of the vigils or marches that is also something you must disclose to me," the judge told the jury pool.

The accused, who is represented by well-known Auckland lawyers Ian Brookie and Ron Mansfield, will continue to have interim name suppression throughout the trial - the reasons for which are also suppressed and cannot be reported by media.

The Crown Solicitor at Auckland Brian Dickey, along with former London barrister Robin McCoubrey, are prosecuting the case.

David and Gillian Millane arrived in Auckland at the weekend and spent a day with the police and prosecution team as they prepared for the evidence they are likely to hear during the trial.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard and Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Brand are in court today after leading the police's efforts to find Millane after she was reported missing.