The judge, jury and lawyers were all assembled in the court, ready to start a trial on indecency charges.
The only person missing was the defendant.
Faith healer Nga Teiri, also known as Nga Teina, faces 20 charges of indecently assaulting women over the age of 16.
He was not present when prospective jurors reported to the Napier District Court on Tuesday morning to begin his trial.
Judge Bridget Mackintosh, Crown solicitor Michael Blaschke and defence counsel Philip Jensen discussed what progress could be made in the trial in the absence of the defendant.
Judge Mackintosh decided to at least select a jury, saying that 36 people had turned up for the jury pool, and she did not think it would be fair to have them all come back on another day.
After Blaschke read out the names of 10 Crown witnesses, so that prospective jurors could alert the court if they had a connection to the case, the jury was selected by ballot.
Seven men and five women then took their places in the jury box and were sworn in.
With the judge, jury and counsel – and the court staff – all seated in their respective positions in the court, Judge Mackintosh then told the jury: "We are not going to be proceeding to the hearing, because the defendant is not here."
She excused the jury members for the day and told them to report back on Wednesday morning.
"We are doing our best to ensure the trial will proceed," the judge said.
- by Ric Stevens, Open Justice