The Christchurch terror trial falls just outside the Chief Justice's order to halt all new jury trials for at least two months as New Zealand grapples with the global coronavirus pandemic.

But which high-profile cases will now be postponed?

Next month a man charged with manslaughter after a fatal four-car crash in Auckland was due to stand trial.

Also beginning on the same day in Auckland was due to be the trial of a former Child, Youth and Family worker accused of abusing more than a dozen boys.


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Jay Lingman, the man charged with murdering Denver Chance, was due to stand trial for three weeks from May 11.

And also in May, the rape and kidnapping trial of a man who led charity missions to the Pacific Islands was due to begin.

Two of the year's biggest High Court trials, however, are also under threat if the two-month suspension is extended further into the year.

The Christchurch terror trial is due to begin on June 2, while the trial of a prominent and wealthy New Zealand businessman accused of indecent assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice is scheduled to start on the same day in Auckland.

Other high-profile cases in June include the trial of Akustino Tae, who is charged with attempting to murder Killer Beez president Joshua Masters.

Auckland barristers told the Herald the suspension of new jury trials was only a matter of time.

Many also mentioned the need to suspended other court hearings, which they suggested could be conducted via video link or teleconference.


Yesterday, the Parole Board announced all hearings will be held by video-link from today due to the Covid-19 situation.

Currently, Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann has indicated no other halt to regular court proceedings, including prominent sentencings which can attract large public galleries.

But measures, she said, are being taken to modify list court hearings to ensure that proper hygiene is maintained, and courtrooms are not overcrowded.

This included a judicial steering group, working with the Ministry of Justice, which is exploring ways technology might be used to enable lawyers and others to participate remotely in some cases.

Today, however, a man accused of murder objected to appearing in court via video link due to the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns.

The court also heard the virus was causing limitations for Corrections staff. There were already dozens of people in the small North Shore courtroom at the time of the hearing.

When Chief Justice Winkelmann announced last night the suspension of all new jury trials for two months, she said maintaining correct hygiene requirements in the court system was unrealistic.

"Functioning courts are critical to the maintenance of law and order and the safeguarding of human rights," she said.

"During the current pandemic, it is particularly important for the courts to continue to provide essential justice services for the community – including for victims of crime and those taken into custody. Nevertheless, the judicial leadership must also ensure the safety of all who participate in the courts."

The decision does not affect jury trials already in progress.

"There is a special onus on the courts to protect the health of jurors who are performing an important civic duty," Chief Justice Winkelmann said.

"The process of empanelling juries often involves bringing large numbers of people together in relatively confined spaces. Once empanelled jurors are inevitably spending significant periods of time in relatively close contact."

More generally, Chief Justice Winkelmann explained, the judiciary is addressing what measures can be taken to reduce the numbers of people attending court in public foyers and galleries.

Enhanced cleaning of courtrooms is also being conducted.

Further information for people attending court can be found here.