17 Dec 2013

Lake protester loses appeal against assault conviction

7:28 pm on 17 December 2013

A Maori rights activist has lost his Supreme Court appeal against his conviction for assaulting a man at a lake near Levin.

Philip Taueki attacked a member of a sailing club in 2008, claiming he was trying to launch a motorboat on to Lake Horowhenua.

Local bylaws prevent motorboats and speedboats from being used on the water, and the Muaupoko member has long been involved in a campaign to clean up the lake. He claimed he was concerned the boat had not been washed down.

Taueki was convicted of assault but launched a legal appeal on the grounds he was protecting his piece of Maori land.

The land and the lake bed is Maori freehold land, held by the Lake Horowhenua Trust, of which Mr Taueki is a beneficiary.

But today the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal against the conviction, saying possession had to be single and exclusive.

It ruled Taueki did not have control of the land when the assault took place, and was therefore not in possession of it.