Five women stand trial over death of Wellington man Rau Tongia

A murder trial over the death of Karori man Rau Tongia has started in the High Court in Wellington.

Five women are facing murder charges in relation to his death.

Tongia was killed on Percy Dyett Drive in the early hours of 20 December 2020, and was reported to have been shot.

Four out of the five defendants appeared in court on Monday.

Shayde Weston, Breeze Hunt-Weston, Louise Kelly Hume and Pania Waaka have all pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.

Hunt-Weston has also pleaded not guilty to two other charges.

Judge Andru Isac advised the jury this morning that the fifth defendant was not present due to health reason.

Crown starts its case

Crown Prosecutor Sally Carter opened the Crown’s case.

Carter said Tongia was shot in the back while he slept.

She said earlier in the night Tongia was understood to have assaulted Weston.

Weston was understood to have previously “hooked up” with Tongia’s partner.

Carter said while the Crown did not condone Tongia’s actions, he should not have died for them.

Prior to the death, Weston and Hunt-Weston were witnessed in the driveway of the Percy Dyett Drive address Weston was alleged to return to, in an altercation with Tongia in relation to the assault of Weston.

Hunt-Weston was on an additional charge in relation to this altercation.

The Crown believed Weston, driven by Waaka returned to that address to kill Tongia later that night.

Police used GPS, CCTV, phone messages and data retained by Facebook and Google to track the accused on the night in question.

The Crown believed Weston either pulled the trigger or assisted in the shooting, Waaka drove Weston to the address, Hunt-Weston lent them the car to get there, and Hume supplied the gun used.

The trial is set down for eight weeks.

Seven people in total have faced charges – with a man and a woman accused of hiding a firearm having already been sentenced.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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