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Judge sets trial date for trio of alleged poachers

A trial date has been set for three men facing charges related to a poaching incident on a South Wairarapa farm earlier this year.

Jordan Churchill, Murray Alan Paulin, and a third man with name suppression have all entered not-guilty pleas on charges of unlawful hunting, cruelty to animals, entering agricultural land with intent, unlawfully possessing firearms, and discharging firearms near a dwelling.

Judge Bruce Davidson granted the third man’s application for interim name suppression when he appeared in Wellington District Court yesterday.

The man with name suppression is represented by Kevin Smith, Churchill is represented by Philippa Sullivan, and Paulin is represented by Ian Hard.

Smith said his client needed name suppression because he had received death threats since the incident.

Smith has applied for one or more of the charges against his client dismissed.

That application will be dealt with at the man’s next court appearance on November 6, 2023, along with whether there’ll be an extension to his interim name suppression, which Judge Davidson has granted until then.

The most serious charge the three men face is entering agricultural land with intent to commit an imprisonable offence, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The court has booked a five-day jury trial for the three accused with a tentative start date of May 20, 2024.

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