Court no-shows from lawyer and defendant

The defended hearing of a former Greymouth man facing drugs and firearms charges, took an unusual turn with his lawyer in the Greymouth District Court this week.

Mark Rissman, now living in Rangiora, has denied the charges.

During court preparations on Monday morning, Rissman's lawyer Doug Taffs said he was "embarrassed" to tell Judge Alistair Garland that he had left his hearing documents on the kitchen table back in Westport.

Judge Garland told the lawyer the hearing must proceed, so he would have to drive back to Westport, retrieve his hearing notes and return to court in Greymouth in the afternoon.

The hearing was set to begin at 2.15pm, however Mr Taffs failed to return and instead sent a medical certificate to the court saying he would not be back.

Judge Garland said he learned that once he got back to Westport he suffered a hip problem and headed to Buller Hospital, where he was X-rayed, his medication changed, given a walking stick and advised to rest for two to three days.

"This coincided with the onus of proof his client faces, discussed in the morning and I am concerned about the turn of events after a day-and-a-half had been set aside for this hearing," the judge said.

"However, because Mr Taffs is now incapacitated the hearing must be adjourned."

The new date is July 27.

An arrest warrant was issued for Rissman, who also failed to return to court in the afternoon.


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