A Bay of Plenty man accused of murdering 41-year-old Mason Wipatene will defend the allegation at a jury trial in March next year.
Wilson Wirihana, 35, appeared in the Tauranga High Court today via an audiovisual link from prison this morning.
Through his lawyer, Rebekah Webby, he denied charges of murder and disfiguring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The murder charge relates to Wirihana allegedly stabbing Wipatene in the neck during an incident in Nukuhou in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
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Emergency services were called to a property in Nukuhou, near Whakatāne, about 5pm on December 24 after reports of a serious disorder incident.
Wipatene died on Boxing Day.
The disfiguring charge relates to another person.
Justice Graham Lang set a jury trial for the murder charge to begin in the Rotorua High Court on March 7 next year.
Wirihana was further remanded in custody to next appear in the Tauranga High Court on April 16 this year for a case review hearing on both charges.