Tagger killer convicted of manslaughter

01:43, Jan 31 2009
'BETTER THAN NOTHING': Pihema Clifford Cameron's mother leaves court clutching a framed photo of her dead son after Bruce Emery was found guilty of his manslaughter.

There was a loud sob from the court as a south Auckland businessman charged with the murder of a teenage tagger was convicted of his manslaughter.

The jury of eight men and four women found Bruce Emery not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter after more than a day of deliberations in the High Court at Auckland.

Emery, a 50-year-old businessman, was accused of murdering Pihema Clifford Cameron, 15, by stabbing him with a knife.

Emery confronted the teenager and a relative after he found them tagging in Manurewa on January 26.

It was standing room only in the court room as friends and family of both the victim and accused waited for the verdict.

Justice Hugh Williams told the court some people would be pleased with the verdict and some would not.

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"But please acknowledge that the jury has worked long and hard to reach the verdict so please restrain yourself as much as you can," he said.

The mother of the 15-year-old victom Pihema gasped aloud when the jury said "not guilty of murder" and sobbed when they said "guilty of manslaughter".

There was a heavy police presence in the court in case there was a not guilty verdict, to which there was expected to be a strong reaction from the family of the victim.

Justice Williams  told the jury: "Thank you for the work you have done in reaching the verdict, and your work throughout the week".

After the verdict was delivered the family donned green T-shirts depicting an image of Pihema and walked out of the court room en masse with Pihema's mother at the front clutching a framed photo of her dead son.

Although immediate family refused to comment on the verdict, one of the group said it was "better than nothing".

The jury deliberated for almost 14 hours to reach its decision.

- And NZPA

Fairfax Media