24 Jul 2013

MP trying to ensure protesters' safety, court told

8:25 pm on 24 July 2013

People at a housing protest where Mana Party leader Hone Harawira was arrested have told a court that he was ensuring the safety of demonstrators.

The Te Tai Tokerau MP was arrested in October last year during a protest against the removal of state houses in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes.

Hone Harawira.

Hone Harawira. Photo: RNZ

Mr Harawira is defending the charge against him of failing to move his car which was blocking the removal of a state house.

Six protesters who were there the night Mr Harawira was arrested gave evidence in his defence at the Auckland District Court on Wednesday.

All said that his car lights were ensuring that three protesters on the roof of the state house were removed safely.

A Glen Innes resident and protester, Lisa Gibson, also told the court there was a patrol car behind Mr Harawira's car and officers in front of it - so it would have been impossible for him to to move it when asked by police.

Mr Harawira, who is representing himself, told the court on Wednesday he did hear police tell him to move his car, but told them he would only do so once three protesters were removed from the roof and his car lights were ensuring that would happen safely.