Three deny prison murder charges

April 24, 2015 | By More
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

Three men charged with the murder in prison of Benton Marni Parata have pleaded not guilty at a pre-trial appearance in the High Court at Christchurch.

The three men appeared together by video-link prison, for an appearance before Justice Cameron Mander.

Akuhatua Tihi, 22, of Nelson, Levi Hohepa Reuben, 20, and Steven Betham, 36, entered the not guilty pleas through their defence counsel.

James Rapley, counsel for Reuben, said the legislation required that pleas be entered at this stage and his client pleaded not guilty. Counsel Phil Shamy for Tihi and Kerry Cook for Betham entered similar pleas for their clients.

Justice Mander remanded all three men in custody for a case review hearing on June 26.

The police allege that 44-year-old Parata was attacked in prison on March 25 and died in hospital five days later without regaining consciousness, after his life support system had been turned off.

The charges listed at court indicated that no weapon was involved in the attack.



Category: Focus

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