The fourth of more than 20 Crown witnesses spent today under cross-examination in a murder trial under way in the High Court at Rotorua.

On trial is Hendrix John Kahia, 35, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering Wiremu Desmond Birch, 19, at Taupō on September 11, 2013.

He is being tried by a jury of eight women and four men before Justice Edwin Wylie.

Tensions rose between Kahia's lawyer, Elizabeth Hall, and the Crown witness as she probed him alleging it was he, not Kahia, who stabbed Birch on a suburban Taupō street after a confrontation between Black Power gang members or associates and Birch who had Mongrel Mob links.

Advertisement

The trial opened on Monday with Crown prosecutor, Chris Macklin, claiming it was Kahia who pulled the knife which inflicted the fatal chest wound when a grossly inebriated Birch was stabbed three times in a brawl which began as a one-on-one fist fight but escalated.

The trial is estimated to run for a fortnight.

Related articles: