15 Oct 2014

Murder conviction now manslaughter

2:52 pm on 15 October 2014

The Court of Appeal has quashed the murder conviction of a Te Puke man who had been hired from inside prison to collect a drug debt.

A jury last year found Witeri Ahomiro Neketai guilty of murdering Tauranga businessman Gary Kimura.

But the Court of Appeal today quashed the murder conviction and replaced it with manslaughter.

Trial evidence showed Neketai was told to "hammer" Mr Kimura. He left the businessman "in a coma" and "in a pool of blood".

The Court of Appeal said there was no evidence that Niketai knew a single punch was likely to cause death and also no evidence that a kick was the cause of death.