Gang trial: Media personality's charge dropped, accountant pleads guilty

Wiwini Himi Hakaraia, pictured during the first day of the Operation Nova trial at the Auckland...
Wiwini Himi Hakaraia, pictured during the first day of the Operation Nova trial at the Auckland High Court. Photo: Brett Phibbs / NZH
Charges have been dismissed against a media personality in a high-profile trial where he had stood in the dock alongside a gang leader.

The president of the NZ chapter of the gang, Pasilika Naufahu, started his trial standing alongside fellow Comanchero Connor Clausen, accountant Wiwini Hakaraia, as well as a media personality and a woman - who both have name suppression.

Today, that number shortened by two as the media personality was cleared of all charges, while Hakaraia was also cleared on most charges but admitted possession of Class A drugs.

The media personality had been accused of participating in an organised criminal group and two charges of money laundering.

Justice Graham Lang said there was "insufficient evidence" to consider them.

The judge told the media personality he was "free to leave the dock" adding to the man's lawyer, Steven Lack, "that brings your participation in the trial to an end".

Hakaraia pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of Class A drugs on April 11 last year.

He admitted having 27.6g of cocaine inside a Nike shoe and 18.2g of powder containing cocaine and methamphetamine in a bag at his home address.

A total of four other charges against Hakaraia were also dismissed.

He was cleared of participating in an organised crime group and three counts of money laundering.

Naufahu remains accused of two charges of money laundering, one in respect of a Ford Ranger and the other in respect of a $102,075 Bentley.







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