22 May 2017

Man denies murder, admits stealing victim's phone

3:32 pm on 22 May 2017

A man accused of murder in a small coastal Hawke's Bay town in February has pleaded not guilty to the killing, but has admitted stealing the dead man's cellphone.

Johnnie Puna appeared in the High Court in Napier charged with the murder of Mark Beale, who was found unconscious on a beach at Haumoana on Waitangi Day this year.

He also pleaded not guilty to the theft of a vaping device from Mr Beale, but admitted taking the phone.

Justice France entered a conviction on that count and remanded Mr Puna in custody until his trial in November.