'I’m not a vessel': Assault defendant denies being a person

A Wanaka artist who denies being a person is expected to defend a charge of assault at a judge-alone trial in April.

Jane Louise Kellahan (49) was forced to appear in the Queenstown District Court on Tuesday, a day after her voluntary appearance on Monday.

At her first appearance, Judge Russell Walker issued a warrant for her arrest — despite her being in the courtroom — after a bizarre exchange between the two.

On Tuesday, for the second day in a row, Kellahan refused to go to the dock when called, telling Judge Walker: "That sounds like my name, Your Honour, but I want to see it in writing."

Judge Walker told her that despite her denials of being the person named on the charge sheet, "it’s clear that that’s you".

Based on a document before the court, she was claiming to have acted either in self-defence or defence of another person, he said.

Kellahan, who is charged with assault in Wanaka on January 3, then repeated she would not stand in the dock.

"I’m not a vessel.

"I’m a living being on the land."

Judge Walker: "You are a living being, which means you are a person."

He entered a plea of not guilty, telling her the matter would go to a hearing at which the complainant would give evidence "and you can have your say as well".

They would have to agree to disagree about whether she was a person.

Kellahan then asked him to call her ‘Jane Louise’.

"I’m not a dead, legal fiction."

Judge Walker remanded her on bail until the trial on April 28.



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