6 Aug 2014

Opotiki murder accused enters plea

12:14 pm on 6 August 2014

A mill worker charged with murdering Opotiki man Joe Collier has pleaded not guilty.

Tamaikoha Takao.

Tamaikoha Takao. Photo: RNZ / Natalie Mankelow

Mr Collier, who was 22, died after what was believed to be a gang fight between two groups of people from neighbouring houses.

Tamaikoha Takao, 34, appeared at the High Court in Tauranga on Wednesday morning facing one charge of murder.

There was a heavy police presence in court, with about five officers and security guards in the building.

In an earlier court appearance, the accused man's name was suppressed because of a fear for his family, but his lawyer did not ask for the suppression to continue.

Mr Takao will appear in court again in October when a trial date is expected to be set.