All charges have been dismissed against a North Canterbury couple who faced allegations of stealing livestock.
Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish decided that police had had long enough to bring the case to trial.
The charges – effectively rustling – have been before the court 16 times since they were laid early in 2014.
That followed a five-month police investigation before dozens of charges were laid against both the man and the woman. The pair were granted name suppression.
Over recent months two judges at pre-trial hearings have queried the strength of the police case and the police asked for more time to discuss the case with the officer in charge at another appearance yesterday.
Defence counsel Nick Rout argued that enough time had been given already, and the charges should be dismissed yesterday. Judge Farish agreed.
Mr Rout asked for the question of whether the police should be ordered to pay costs to be held over for further consideration.
Final suppression of name was granted.