Unexpected surgery for one of four Hawke's Bay businessmen facing serious charges under the Immigration Act has delayed the start of a five-week trial in Hastings.
The men, who range in age from 45 to 62, are charged that between September 2004 and December 2006 they did for material benefit aid and abet people to remain unlawfully in New Zealand.
The trial was due to start on Tuesday but counsel for one of the accused, Surjit Singh, told Judge Russell Johnson on Monday that his client had just undergone urgent surgery in Hawke's Bay Hospital.
He won't be fit to be in court for a week.
The judge said that, because Mr Singh has a legal right to be in court to hear the evidence, he had no option but to delay the trial until next Monday.