A violent outburst disrupted the courtroom at the Wellington High Court on Thursday during a hearing for three individuals charged with the murder of Stokes Valley man, Rawiri Wharerau. The eruption began when one of the accused was escorted out, triggering a wave of shouting from both sides of the public gallery. This quickly escalated into a physical brawl, lasting approximately 30 seconds, with a member of the victim’s family attempting to scale a two-meter-high perspex barrier separating the courtroom from the audience.
The chaos prompted a defense lawyer to call for the arrest of those involved in the brawl, leading to a judge vacating the courtroom. Law enforcement responded promptly, dispatching ten police cars, a police van, and two ambulances. One lane of Molesworth Street was temporarily closed in the wake of the event. The defendants, a 33-year-old man from East Coast and a 22-year-old woman from Stokes Valley, are charged with Rawiri Wharerau’s murder and the attempted murder of his brother, Hemi Wharerau.
The charges emerged following an incident at a 50th birthday party on December 16, which spiraled into violence, leading to Rawiri’s death and his brother’s critical injury. The pair also face charges related to unlawful firearm possession. A third individual stands accused of being an accessory after the fact.
Continued Name Suppression Sparks Frustration
Name suppression for all three defendants was continued, inciting frustration among the victim’s family. Rawiri Wharerau, known to be a gang member, was fatally shot during the party that spilled onto the street, while his brother was critically injured.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn