11 Jul 2011

Taxi driver murder-accused to stand trial in China

4:05 pm on 11 July 2011

The officer who led the investigation into the killing of an Auckland taxi driver says the murder trial in China may only last a few days.

Hiren Mohini, 39, and a father-of-two died after what detectives described as a frenzied knife attack in Mt Eden in January 2010.

Xiao Zhen was tracked down in Shanghai months after Mr Mohini's death and will stand trial there for murder on 2 August. Chinese law prohibits extradition of its citizens to be tried in another country.

A panel of between three and five judges is expected to hear the case.

Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones led the investigation and says there will be no New Zealand witnesses for the prosecution.

However, original witness statements and exhibits collated and given to Chinese authorities earlier this year will be presented at the trial.

Mr Jones is to attend the trial in Shanghai and says if there is a guilty verdict, sentencing could take place within a couple of weeks.

He says an assurance has been given that Mr Zhen will not face the death penalty.

Mr Mohini's family has decided not to attend the hearing.