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Juror's illness stalls Urewera trial

Published: 10:29AM Monday February 20, 2012 Source: Fairfax

For the second time in two weeks the trial of the "Urewera four" has been interrupted by illness.

Justice Rodney Hansen told jurors this morning that the court would not be sitting today or tomorrow because a member of the jury was sick.

He said the juror had provided a medical certificate.

On Thursday of last week the court was unable to sit because one of the accused, Urs Signer, was ill.

As the jury left this morning, lawyers remained to discuss legal matters in chambers with the judge.

The four accused - Tame Iti, Emily Bailey, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara and Urs Signer - were charged with illegal possession of firearms and participation in an organised criminal group. They have pleaded not guilty.

The Crown alleged the four accused were the ringleaders of military-style camps designed to train people to fight for the self-governance of the Tuhoe region.

But defence lawyers have told the jury to keep an open mind.

In brief opening addresses they raised questions about whether the people involved formed a cohesive "group", and indicated the alleged camps were wanangas which focused on teaching and learning.

The trial was expected to resume on Wednesday.