Ngapaki Gripp's lawyer denies murder-accused was 'cold-blooded, calculating'

2:56 pm on 13 August 2020

A lawyer denies his client was a cold-blooded, calculating murderer after stabbing a man during a brawl in Porirua.

Auckland court coat of arms.

Photo: RNZ / Patrice Allen

Hone Pawa died during the fight in May last year and Ngapaki Gripp is on trial for murder in the High Court at Wellington.

Gripp's lawyer Mike Antunovic told the jury in closing statements today Gripp was protecting himself and his younger cousin.

He repeated it was a "sudden and vicious" attack by Pawa and a group of men who were bigger and had been drinking.

Antunovic denied the Crown's view Gripp was aggressive. He said Gripp had been trying to protect himself by attempting to drive away.

"His thought then was to drive away to get to safety - this is the man that the Crown say did nothing right... he's 'just a cold-blooded, calculating murderer'," he said.

Antunovic said his client was acting in self defence when grabbing the diving knife from his car and should not be found guilty of murder.

However, Crown lawyer Sally Carter told the jury Gripp was not acting in self defence.

She said he was seen walking "aggressively" towards Pawa and said "do you want to get stabbed" three times, before striking Pawa with the fatal blows.

Carter said the knife has never been found, nor has a high-vis vest.

She said the items had blood on them.

Justice Dobson addressed the jury with his closing remarks.

He reminded the jury to look at the self defence argument and whether there was murderous intent in Gripp's actions.

The jury is now deliberating its verdict.