Man guilty of fatal blows at Taupiri party
A jury has found a Hamilton man guilty of the manslaughter of a Ngaruawahia man.
Malcolm Fraser Poata, 39, of Hillcrest, maintained in the trial at the High Court at Hamilton that he had nothing to do with the death of James Jock Moana after a day and night-long party hosted by the Taupiri Motorcycle Club during the weekend of February 16 and 17 last year.
But the jury of four men and eight women found Poata was guilty of delivering two fatal blows to Mr Moana after an argument over cigarettes.
Poata's counsel, David Bates, maintained his client did not touch Mr Moana, rather the injuries were inflicted by a third man - Jamie Wade, known as Whiti - who had punched him a minute or two earlier.
Mr Wade and Mr Moana had got involved in an argument over who was and wasn't pulling their weight in helping the party run smoothly on the night.
Mr Wade admitted punching Mr Moana but told the jury he left when Poata came over, asking about cigarettes.
The trial was expected to last until Friday but all witnesses finished giving evidence on Tuesday, with the closings held yesterday, before the jury retired at lunchtime, delivering its verdict late in the afternoon. Poata will be sentenced in May.