Manslaughter accused denies hitting victim

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014

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A Hamilton man on trial for manslaughter says he had nothing to do with the death of a Ngaruawahia man.

Malcolm Fraser Poata, 39, of Hillcrest, yesterday went on trial in the Hight Court at Hamilton charged with the manslaughter of James Jock Moana at Hakarimata, Ngaruawahia, on February 17 last year.

Poata is accused of delivering two fatal blows to Mr Moana after a fight over cigarettes.

But Poata's lawyer, David Bates, said his client did not touch Mr Moana, rather the injuries were inflicted by a third man - Jamie Wade, known as Whiti - who had punched Mr Moana a minute or two earlier.

The trio were at a party being hosted by the Taupiri Motorcycle Club on Saturday, February 16, that stretched into the early hours of the next day.

Crown prosecutor Ross Douch told the jury of four men and eight women that Mr Moana was one of the "prospects" for the club, and on the night of the party, together with Mr Wade, was tasked with making sure the party ran smoothly, tidying up and cooking food.

Mr Moana became involved in an argument with Mr Wade over who was or wasn't pulling their weight.

The pair pushed and shoved each other before exchanging blows.

Mr Douch said Poata intervened, delivering a heavy blow to Mr Moana's head which sent him to the ground.

Poata is then accused of picking Mr Moana up and again punching him in the head, which sent him crashing into some pallets.

Mr Moana died from bleeding on the brain. Mr Douch said he also suffered two broken vertebrae in his neck, so even if Mr Moana had survived it was likely he would have been a paraplegic.

Mr Wade was first to give evidence and was questioned at length by Mr Bates who put it to him that it was he who delivered the fatal blows.

Mr Wade denied that, saying he walked off after exchanging punches with Mr Moana, and saw Poata punch him twice after an argument over cigarettes.

The trial, presided over by Justice Gilbert, is expected to finish by Friday. belinda.feek@waikatotimes.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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