A man facing charges of robbing women of their cars while armed with a firearm refused to answer a Rotorua District Court judge when asked if he could see or hear her.

The man, whose identity cannot be revealed, appeared in court today before Judge Jane McMeeken via audio visual link.

His charges relate to a firearms incident on Te Ngae Rd on September 1 when a taxi driver suffered a gunshot wound.

When Judge McMeeken asked the man if he could see and hear her, he refused to respond.


A prison staff member was sent into the room where the accused was sitting to check the equipment and found it to be working fine.

The man's lawyer, Erin Riley, told Judge McMeeken counsel had been having difficulty communicating with the man and getting instructions.

As a result, she asked for another psychological report to be carried out to check if he was fit to plead to the charges.

The man, aged 25, has not entered pleas to two counts of robbing two different women of vehicles while armed with a .270 calibre rifle on September 1. One vehicle was a Toyota Corolla and the other was a Ford Ranger.

Judge McMeeken said she would continue interim name suppression until the report was done.

She remanded him in custody to reappear on October 21.

Another man, aged 26, has been arrested relating to the incident and is in custody to reappear in the Whakatāne District Court on November 20.