Black Power members accused of murdering Mongrel Mob member Kevin Ratana appeared at the High Court today in Whanganui for pre-trial proceedings.
Damien Fantham-Baker, Damien Kuru, Anthony Kuru, Gordon Runga and another man who has name suppression were present, while Anthony Newton and Sheldon Rogerson, who are also accused of murdering Ratana, were not in court.
Ratana was shot outside his Puriri St residence in August last year. He left behind a partner and two children.
After some discussion, Justice Thomas decided to open the court to the public and around 20 people watched proceedings from the gallery.
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Two police officers were stationed outside court while three police officers and three court security guards were on hand to keep order near the public gallery and courtroom entrance.
The heightened police and security presence comes after a February court appearance where Mongrel Mob members yelled gang-related slang from the public gallery before being removed. The outburst was in response to Damien Kuru and Damien Fantham-Baker pleading not guilty.
Monday's appearance ran for around two hours as Justice Thomas, Crown Prosecutor Chris Wilkinson-Smith and the defendants' lawyers spoke about aspects of the trial.
The defendants were remanded until their trial on June 29, 2020, at the High Court in Wellington.