23 Nov 2018

Jury finds 14-year-old guilty of murder

5:59 pm on 23 November 2018

A teenager accused of fatally stabbing a homeless man in March has been found guilty of murder.

Haami Hanara, 14, is accused of the murder of Kelly Donner in Flaxmere in March 2018.

Haami Hanara in the High Court in Napier Photo: Pool photo

Haami Hanara, 14, was accused of fatally stabbing 40-year-old Kelly Donner, after getting into a fight with him in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere on 4 March.

Mr Hanara had pleaded guilty to one charge of burglary and pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.

After deliberating for three and a half hours, a jury found Hanara guilty of murder a short time ago.

In closing statements, the Crown prosecutor told the High Court in Napier that CCTV footage showing the accused holding a knife shortly before the attack, and images of him holding a bloodied knife after the attack, were enough evidence to infer he stabbed Mr Donner.

But the teenager's lawyer argued that 33 seconds of missing footage during which Mr Donner was stabbed was critical as there was no evidence who actually stabbed him.

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning urged the jury to consider the facts and not base their verdict on "emotion".

"We know when Kelly turned to run and turned his back he did not have his carotid artery stabbed at that point.

"We know that when he turned his back to run away, the defendant was right behind him and had a knife in his hand.

"We know that 33 seconds later the defendant comes back into view but this time the knife has blood on it.

"Just on those facts alone you can draw an inference that the defendant stabbed Kelly Donner. That is the sort of logic and reasoning you are entitled to follow in your reasoning."

No caption

Kelly Donner's cousins Daeymin and Carmen Donner. Photo: RNZ

Mr Hanara's lawyer Eric Forster told the jury those 33 seconds were "crucial".

"They are 33 seconds of uncertainty," he said, because they were not captured on camera.

Mr Forster told the jury that a lot could happen in the 33 seconds not seen on camera.

"There is no evidence he stabbed Kelly. The Crown is asking you to fill in the gaps and if you have to fill in the gaps you can't return a verdict beyond reasonable doubt," he told the jury.

He also said one of the Crown's witnesses only saw Hanara punch Mr Donner, and two other witnesses gave contradictory or unreliable evidence.

No caption

A family friend of Haami Hanara, Fiona, and his uncle, Tony Ratahi. Photo: RNZ

Speaking outside the court after the verdict, Mr Donner's cousin, Daeymin Donner, said it had been a hard eight months, but their family now had closure.

"No matter what the sentence, you can't bring our cousin back. It's good (the verdict has been made and) the family can move forward," he said.

Daeymin Donner said he would like his cousin Kelly to be remembered as a good man.

A friend of Hanara's family, Fiona, said Mr Donner's death was a tragedy for all.

"For his loved ones, for the whole community and for this poor young boy who has had the odds stacked against him from the very beginning," she said.

Hanara's uncle, Tony Ratahi, said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"And the wrong reactions to the wrong circumstances," Mr Ratahi said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs