The belief about the alleged rape of a woman may have been based on a terrible mistake that cost a Featherston man's life, a jury has been told.
The lawyer for Matthew John McKinney, 29, has invited a jury to find McKinney guilty of manslaughter but to acquit him of the murder of Glen Jones.
Jones, 40, a disabled supermarket worker, was accused of having raped a woman. He was killed in what the Crown says was a vigilante attack.
McKinney told police later that he had been told Jones was continuing to visit the woman, she was upset, and the police were doing nothing.
McKinney's lawyer, Mike Antunovic, said in the High Court in Wellington today that it was thought that something had to be done to keep Jones away from the woman while waiting for police action.
However, the jury might think that the tragic events of January 12 last year were based on a terrible mistake, Antunovic said.
At that time the defendants did not know what the trial had now been told about the rape complaint, he said.
Four people are on trial accused of murdering Jones. The jury is hearing final addresses from lawyers for the defendants.
It has been admitted during that trial that the rape complainant had been drinking and had taken a prescription painkiller before going to see Jones one evening in November 2012. She and Jones were seen kissing and cuddling the following morning and had consensual intercourse at least once afterwards.
However, about a month later she made a rape complaint to police, saying she could not remember what had happened that night with Jones, but she had been sore in the morning.
Antunovic said McKinney knew a piece of wood was to be involved when a group went to see Jones but it had not been to seek revenge. It had been to warn Jones to stay away from the woman.
The Crown said McKinney led the attack on Jones, standing at the door while two other men attacked Jones with pieces of wood, shattering his skull.
Jones died in hospital within five hours.
USED AS BAIT
Earlier today, the court heard that the smallest member of the group that allegedly attacked Jones at his flat was used to get Jones to open the door.
Kristofer Lee Jones, 24, was the smallest of three men. He was not known to Glen Jones, prosecutor Grant Burston said in the High Court in Wellington today.
Kristofer Jones had the best chance of getting the door open when they went to the flat early in the morning, Burston said.
This morning the jury, reduced to 11, heard the last part of the Crown's final address that began yesterday in the trial of four people charged with murdering Jones.
Kristofer Jones admitted that when Glen Jones opened the door he said: "You raped my mate's mum". He then shoved Jones.
Kristofer Jones said the woman had been very good to him, looking after him and taking him in off the streets several years earlier.
Kristofer Jones was later to tell police that he did not want his mates getting hurt but Jones, at 1.6 metres and weighing 75 kilograms posed no threat, Burston said.
The Crown alleges that Kristofer Jones and another man, Hayden Ranson, 28, had wooden weapons, a homemade bat and broken axe handle, that they used to beat Jones to death.
Kristofer Jones denied having a weapon.
But even if the jury was not sure whether Kristofer Jones had a weapon he would still be guilty of murder, Burston said.
All four who went into Jones' flat were guilty of murder, regardless of whether they wielded the weapons, the court heard.
They didn't care, they were drunk, they hated a "rapist", and they thought they had right on their side, Burston said.
As well as Kris Jones and Ranson, Tariana Hineteanaurangi Jones, 34, and McKinney were also charged with murder. Each has pleaded not guilty.
Kris Jones and Ranson pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary, but the other two and Toni Maree Miller, 23, pleaded not guilty to that charge.
Miller drove one of the two cars that went from Masterton to Featherston where Jones was killed. The car Miller drove then continued on to Wellington.
She was a friend of the woman who claimed she had been raped and thought Glen Jones had "got away with it", Burston said.
The Crown said she was one of the instigators of the attack.
Miller, who was pregnant at the time, denied to police that she had known anyone had a weapon.
However, Burston said her claim not to have seen the weapons was incredible. She had driven her partner, McKinney, to collect the axe handle and another plastic handle, which was not ultimately used.
The jury was entitled to reject her account as a pack of self-serving lies, he said.
The jury will next hear from the lawyers for the other defendants.