18 Sep 2014

Hysteria over hostel case says lawyer

6:01 pm on 18 September 2014

The lawyer for a Kaitaia man accused of drugging, raping, and taking photos of tourists at his backpackers lodge has attacked the media and the police for fuelling hysteria in the area.

Michael Harris

Michael Harris Photo: SUPPLIED

Michael Harris faces 41 charges relating to 16 men who stayed at his Main Street Lodge in Kaitaia during the past two and a half years.

He appeared in the District Court this afternoon seeking bail.

In an attempt to prevent the media being allowed to film and take photos, Mr Harris' lawyer Doug Blaikie referred to Kaitaia nearing hysteria over the case.

Mr Blaikie said that it had been fuelled by the way the police conducted themselves.

The lodge in Kaitaia.

The lodge in Kaitaia. Photo: SUPPLIED

He said the media were interested only in sensationalising the matter and have done significant harm to his client's rights.

He indicated Mr Harris would defend the charges.

Judge Murray Hunt said police were still investigating and there was a risk Mr Harris might attempt to interfere with witnesses and evidence.

Judge Hunt said suggested bail conditions, such as restricting Mr Harris' use of the internet and contact with people under the age of 40, would be too difficult to monitor and enforce.

He remanded Mr Harris in custody to reappear on October the 23rd.