19 Apr 2016

Accused teen acted to help friend, says lawyer

12:35 pm on 19 April 2016

A teenager accused of murdering a man struck him with a liquor bottle to protect his best friend, the accused teen's lawyer told a court.

Beauen Wallace-Loretz and Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist are on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

Exterior of the Auckland High Court

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The pair are accused of murdering 54-year-old Ihaia Gillman-Harris in 2014. They were both 17 at the time.

In his closing address, Mr Wallace-Loretz's lawyer John Kovacevich said his client was allowed to do what he did.

He said the teenager came into the room to something strange and twisted, which was Mr Nattrass-Bergquist being assaulted.

He told jurors he tried to stop Mr Gillman-Harris, who weighed 118 kilograms, and get him off his best friend.

Mr Kovacevich said his client reached for the full bottle of spirits because it was the first thing nearest to him.

He said it was alcohol that Mr Gillman-Harris himself had bought to get the teenagers drunk.

Mr Kovacevich said Mr Gillman-Harris was obsessive and Mr Nattrass-Bergquist was almost blacking out.

He told the jury that people had a legal right to defend their best mate and stop a sexual violation with reasonable force.

The Crown, in its earlier closing address, said Mr Gillman-Harris was not a violent man and only expected consensual activity.

It maintains the two teenagers had a plan to beat and rob him.

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