14 Nov 2022

21yo found guilty of murder after fatal stabbing in Whangārei CBD brawl

2:40 pm on 14 November 2022
no caption

Photo: Supplied / Ministry of Justice

A 21-year-old Whangārei man has been found guilty of murder after a street brawl in the centre of the city in June 2021.

He stabbed 23-year-old Haze Peihopa to death.

Peihopa died in the early hours of 13 June 2021 at Whangārei Hospital.

The killer's younger brother, and co-accused, was found not guilty of murder this afternoon, but the teen had earlier pleaded guilty to an additional charge of injuring with intent.

The killer's family shouted they loved him, and "kia kaha". They were removed from the court for disrupting proceedings when the verdicts were read.

His mother wept and said: "I love you son".

There was already a large security presence in the room - 10 security guards, plus police staff.

Members of the jury cried, seeing the reaction in the public gallery, as did members of Haze Peihopa's family, who also quietly, very briefly, clapped.

The killer was also found guilty of assault with a weapon.

Justice Brewer told the jury they had done "a very hard job".

"I really never comment on the verdicts brought by juries, it's not for me, but because of the outburst that you have experienced, and because I know that has affected you, if I had been sitting in the 12th chair ... I would have come to the same conclusions that you have done."

Before the verdicts, he told members of the public gallery to leave if they thought they would not be able to contain their emotions.

One man, from Haze Peihopa's family, left, and Justice Brewer said: "I think that gentleman was very courageous".

Convictions were entered and sentencing will be held in February.