Emotions high as murder accused appears in court
Emotions ran high in a packed Porirua courtroom last Tuesday as a 26-year-old man appeared, charged with murdering truck driver Bruce Coker.
Coker, 49, was found lying in Rossiter St, Linden, with severe head injuries, on December 20 and died in hospital three days later.
A Waitangirua man, who has interim name suppression, has been charged with the murder. An earlier charge of assault was withdrawn.
Coker’s family and friends were in the courtroom in large numbers for the brief appearance, but were restrained in their reactions to the accused’s appearance.
Members of the Mongrel Mob were also in court and there was an aggressive exchange between one of the accused’s supporters and a police officer.
It spilled out of the courthouse, but was diffused before it became violent.
Coker was described late last year by family and friends as a kind-hearted man without a bad bone in his body.
He had been seeing friends in Rossiter St during the evening and was found lying on the road several houses away from the property he had been visiting.
The police investigation had initially been hampered by a refusal of potential witnesses to reveal everything they knew.
The accused was remanded in custody and will appear in the High Court in Wellington on February 3.
Chance Slade Rameka, 20, had earlier been named as a person of interest and appeared in court on unrelated charges, but a police spokesman said he was not being charged in relation to the death.