A man accused of fatally shooting a woman and her father at a West Auckland home last month has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.
The 27-year-old was allowed to keep interim name suppression as he made his first appearance in the High Court at Auckland today before Justice Sally Fitzgerald.
Justice Fitzgerald also agreed with the Crown that the names of the two people who died should also remain secret until at least a case review hearing scheduled for October. Family members sat in the courtroom, represented by another lawyer, as the decision was announced.
Police found the bodies at a Barrys Rd house in Glendene on the afternoon of July 15. The woman's dog was also killed.
Neighbours in Glendene previously told the Herald they heard multiple gunshots followed by screams of a man and a woman.
During the man's first court appearance last month, at Waitakere District Court, two groups of people - including a sobbing woman - filled the public gallery separated by police officers.
Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield QC entered the not guilty plea today on behalf of his client as the defendant stood in the courtroom dock. However, Mansfield suggested the not guilty plea is a formality while he awaits further instructions from his client.
"It doesn't reflect the future course of the proceedings, per se," he said.
At the pair's funeral last month, mourners were told how the father died while trying to save his daughter.
"He died as a hero, saving his beautiful daughter", said a family friend of the man, whose coffin - along with his daughter's - was later carried from the Holy Cross Catholic Church to Enrique Iglesias' best-selling single Hero. "I know she was the light of his eyes."