31 Jul 2009

Taito Phillip Field verdict not till Monday at least

8:22 pm on 31 July 2009

The jury in the Taito Phillip Field trial has retired for a second night after deliberating all day Friday, and will resume on Monday.

Earlier in the day, protesters who had halted proceedings at the High Court in Auckland on Thursday returned, and there was a tense standoff.

The Ministry of Justice says however that the jurors weren't affected, because they were in another part of the building and were kept unaware of the standoff.

The mainly young protesters, calling themselves the Mauri Nation State Hapu, arrived in much larger numbers this time, some wearing T-shirts with the logo "Tangata Whenua Aotearoa".

There was a heated exchange between group spokesperson Tane Rakau and a court official when they were asked to stop filming in the public lobby. The official was told to "go back to China".

Members of the group dragged seats from other levels of the courthouse to the lobby and were heard making threats to return with thousands of people.

Mr Field denies 12 charges of bribery and corruption and 23 charges of obstructing or perverting the course of justice.

He has been kept in a cell at court during the jury's deliberations.