Pākehā justice questioned in Love case

7:47 am on 7 October 2016

Several of Sir Ngatata Love's supporters have questioned why his case is being dealt with by the Pākehā court system, rather than by traditional Māori justice.

Ngatata Love has has his name suppression lifted.

Sir Ngatata Love Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The Wellington Māori leader will learn this afternoon whether he will have to serve a jail term, after being found guilty last month of obtaining property through deception.

The sentencing process began yesterday, with several of his supporters telling the High Court in Wellington of his mana and the benefits he had brought his iwi.

Grant Knuckey was one of several who commented on the fact Sir Ngatata had been tried in a court, saying Māori should be judging their own people.

"We should be judging our own people ourselves. I'm here to support Ngatata. This is a moment in history for us because we will put him aside all of our other chiefs who have for some reason been incarcerated for doing the same things - protecting our people, providing wealth, and a home for people to live."

Another supporter Martha Gilbert said it was hard to understand how the offending occurred, but Māori would have dealt differently with it.

The Crown is seeking a prison term, describing his offending as an unprecedented single event of fraud against a Māori land trust.

However, defence lawyer Colin Carruthers has argued home detention would be appropriate, because his client relied on advice from his former partner, who took advantage of him.

Justice Lang deferred delivering the sentence yesterday when concerns were raised about how a prison sentence would affect the 79-year-old's already poor health.