The Northland Age
Indecent assault trial aborted
The trial of a Northland leader accused of indecent assault against a 16-year-old girl and attempting to pervert the course of justice has been aborted due to proper legal reasons.
Raniera (Sonny) Tau, 69, pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial in the Whangārei District Court last Monday before Judge John McDonald and a jury of eight women and four men to six counts of indecently assaulting a female over the age of 16 and three of attempting to pervert the course of justice by offering the girl money to settle the matter
out of court.
The alleged indecent assaults took place at Rangi Pt, in the Far North, on January 7, 2017, while the three other charges were allegedly committed between that date and October 9, 2019, in Whangarei, when it's alleged Tau on three occasions offered the girl money to settle the matter out of court.
Hower, yesterday, shortly after the Crown prosecutor Geraldine Kelly had opened the Crown case and defence lawyer Arthur Fairley had outlined aspects of the defence that the jury needed to pay attention to, the trial was aborted.
Fairley said it was aborted for proper legal reasons.NZME cannot report those reasons at this stage.
Tau was chairman of Te Runanga-a-iwi o Ngāpuhi for more than a decade until he stepped down in 2019.