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Mother Of Murder Accused Jailed For Comtempt Of Court

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 6 NZPA - The mother of the man accused of murdering Hawke's Bay farmer Mark McCutcheon has been jailed for a week after barking like a dog and yelling abuse in the courtroom.

Victoria Stevens, 43, yelled "Love you" and made barking noises, a sign of Mongrel Mob support, when her son Hulio Henry Ataria was being led from the dock yesterday at Hastings District Court.

Judge Richard Watson told police to arrest her. She resisted, shouting obscenities and kicked open the doors as police dragged her from the court.

Mr McCutcheon's widow Paula, who was in court accompanied by 30 supporters, was quickly taken through an internal door of the courthouse in tears by several women supporters.

Other women in the group were visibly shaken and also in tears as they left the court.

Stevens, an invalid beneficiary, pleaded guilty to contempt of court later in the day.

Lawyer Rebecca Guthrie said her client was sorry and wanted to apologise to the court and all present.

Judge Watson said it was the worst behaviour he had experienced in court, the Dominion Post reported.

"It was a disgraceful exhibition...The language was appalling, your actions were worse.

"It was unseemly, it was unwarranted and it was particularly unfair on the McCutcheon supporters who didn't expect to be confronted with that type of behaviour.

"I simply am not prepared to tolerate that sort of behaviour in my court, ever."

He sentenced her to seven days in jail.

Ataria, 22, unemployed, of Waipukurau, is accused of murdering Mr McCutcheon outside the Sandford Arms Hotel at Ongaonga, in central Hawke's Bay, on January 24.

Mr McCutcheon had intervened in a domestic dispute and was stabbed. He left the scene but was found dead in his car the next morning.

Judge Watson yesterday remanded Ataria in custody until February 26 and prohibited the publication of his image.

A 26-year-old Waipawa man, who was granted name suppression, later appeared in the same court accused of assaulting Mr McCutcheon with intent to injure. He denied the charge but admitted two others of assaulting a woman.

He was remanded in custody to reappear on the same day as Ataria.

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