Jury deliberations are continuing in the High Court at Rotorua in the trial of five Black Power gang members charged after an all-out brawl in Whakatāne with Mongrel Mob adversaries 18 months ago.

Jurors called it quits for the day at 5pm yesterday, returning this morning when they asked to see a portion of video footage in which the defendant Whitu Taipete was circled.

Yesterday they asked for a replay of footage highlighting Benjamin Biddle's movements.

Justice Graham Lang agreed to their request to have a video screen placed immediately in front of the jury box after receiving a note from the forewoman that some of the panel had difficulty seeing the courtroom's more distant, fixed screens.


Taipete and Biddle are on trial with Codie Taitapanui, Te Reneti Tarau and Taumata Tawhai. All face charges of rioting, participating in an organised criminal group, using firearms against Rotorua police officers and discharging firearms with reckless disregard for safety.

Taitapanui and Tarau face a charge of unlawfully possessing firearms, their co-accused have had that count against them dismissed.

A sixth man, Stallone Harawera, was discharged at the end of the Crown's case after the judge ruled insufficient evidence had been produced against him.

When the jury went to consider their verdicts at 11.30am yesterday Justice Lang assured them they were under no time pressure and could deliberate as long as they felt they needed to.

The trial is into its 14th day.

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