The man accused of murdering baby Karlos Stephens has appeared in the High Court at Rotorua.

Shane Claude Roberts, 59, appeared before Justice Sarah Katz today via AVL from court in Christchurch.

Roberts told the judge he wanted to have his bail conditions varied so he could live at an address in the North Island.

"I need to be up there to administrate a case in my defence."

Shane Claude Roberts, 59, at a previous appearance. Photo / File
Shane Claude Roberts, 59, at a previous appearance. Photo / File

He said if his bail to a North Island address was denied, he would be "at the mercy of the Crown".

Roberts' lawyer Louis Te Kani withdrew from representing him and the judge told Roberts he would have to formally apply to change his bail conditions.

On behalf of the Crown, Amanda Gordon said that wouldn't be a straightforward task if Roberts didn't have a lawyer.

"The Crown opposed him being granted bail in the first place. He was granted because it was in Christchurch, some distance from a number of Crown witnesses so I'm concerned that this is going to be relatively difficult to conduct on his own."

Justice Katz asked Roberts if he wanted to keep Te Kani on as a lawyer until the bail application had been filed. Roberts replied: "No thank you".

The judge asked Te Kani to help Roberts find a new lawyer. She remanded Roberts on bail until a callover on April 5 to discuss the bail variation. She said she hoped Roberts would have a new lawyer by then.

As the case was adjourned people in the public gallery yelled out "love you Dad".

Roberts' trial is set down for November 4.


He is charged with the murder of Karlos Stephens in November 2014.

Baby twin Karlos Stephens was just 10-months-old when he died in Rotorua Hospital from severe head injuries.

Karlos and his twin brother were living with extended family at the time of his death on November 30, 2014.

Police re-opened an investigation into the baby's unexplained death in September last year. Roberts was charged with murder weeks later.