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Harawira uses Maori to deny charge

14:55 Thu Dec 6 2012
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira (Getty)
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira (Getty)

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira spoke only Te Reo Maori in court as he continues to deny a charge laid after a protest against the removal of a state house.

When asked to plead in Auckland District Court to a charge of failing to remove a car in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes, Mr Harawira chose not to speak English and his words were translated by a Maori reporter.

He told two Justices of the Peace that he didn't agree with the decision to arrest him in October, that he didn't think he'd done anything wrong, and he didn't agree with the government's actions.

He didn't specifically plead not guilty but the Justices of the Peace took it as such.

"I do not agree with the actions of the Crown in stealing the homes of the people of Glen Innes," he said outside court.

"I want to know where the charges stem from, and whether there was legal authority for those arrests to be made."

A date was set for a half-day hearing in March, though Mr Harawira said he'd be mounting a full defence which would probably take half a month.

Mr Harawira said he had every right to use Maori in court, and said it was technically illegal for a member of the public to translate for him in court.

Supporters of Mr Harawira were given permission to hold up a sign in court saying "zero tolerance for corporate greed" provided they did not speak.

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