Two appear over murder charges
Two people accused of being involved in the murder of James Whitikau Barton have been remanded without plea after appearing in Nelson District Court yesterday. At least a dozen people filed into the public gallery at Nelson District Court as a 33-year-old man, who has interim name suppression, appeared from custody via audiovisual link. The man faces a charge of murder, four charges of breaching home detention conditions, and one of driving while under the influence of drugs. He did not enter a plea to the murder charge, but pleaded not guilty to the other charges. Judge Robert Spear remanded the man in custody until his next date, a High Court hearing on December 15, where he will enter a plea to the murder charges. Yesterday afternoon, a 30-year-old woman appeared, charged with accessory to murder after the fact. The woman was denied bail and will be remanded in custody to the same date. Barton, 48, was the victim of a “vicious assault” on the evening of November 10. He was taken to hospital with critical injuries from a property in Orchard St, Stoke, and later died. During the investigation into the incident, Detective Lex Bruning said those involved in the assault were believed to be known to each other.