Lifting suppression for men charged over fatal shooting of Mongrel Mob member 'a risk' to police investigation - Crown

Naming the 12 men arrested over the shooting of Mongrel Mob member Kevin Ratana would pose "a significant and real risk" to the police investigation into his death, a court has heard today.

Mr Ratana, a 27-year-old father of two, was shot and killed in Whanganui in August.

Judge Philip Crayton considered the name suppression orders at the Whanganui District Court this morning.

None of the defendants were required to appear.

They face charges ranging from belonging to an organised criminal group, to firearms offences and threatening to kill.

No one has so far been charged with causing Mr Ratana's death.

Judge Crayton told the court that he accepted a Crown instruction that revealing the men's names at this stage "could pose a significant and real risk" to the police investigation and compromise their "fair trial rights".

"This is more than a speculative risk - this is a real risk," Judge Clayton said.

He also feared release of the men's names at this stage could affect the ability of the court to hold any eventual trial in Whanganui.

Defence counsel Jamie Waugh supported the move to retain interim name suppression.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Waugh had argued that some of the defendants had expressed concerns about the safety of their families and reported heightened activity from rival gang members in Whanganui.

Some had already shifted family members out of town.

Judge Clayton said in light of the Crown submission arguments over the risk to the defendants and their families did not need to be advanced further.

He remanded the men on current bail conditions to reappear on 30 November when interim name suppression would lapse.

By Robin Martin 

rnz.co.nz

Mongrel Mob members in Whanganui for Kevin Ratana's funeral.
Mongrel Mob members in Whanganui for Kevin Ratana's funeral. Source: rnz.co.nz

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