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Homeless man's attacker left him: Crown

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/09/2016

While a friend of a homeless man beaten to death in an Auckland park carried his body to a hospital, the man accused of his manslaughter was getting away from the scene, prosecutors say.

Darrell Edward James Dunn, 47, is standing trial accused of manslaughter over a fatal assault on 42-year-old Teina Wharawhara at Outhwaite Park in Grafton in November.

Mr Wharawhara was declared dead at Auckland Hospital after fellow homeless men carried him there from the park, having failed to get an ambulance to attend.

Opening the case for the prosecution in the High Court at Auckland on Monday, Crown lawyer Jo Murdoch told the jury the two men and others of the homeless community were drinking together at the central Auckland park on the night of November 10.

An argument broke out between the pair over a cellphone and Dunn punched Mr Wharawhara to the ground, before kicking him in the head and leaving him bleeding and unconscious, she said.

The other men continued to drink with Mr Wharawhara laying on the ground, until another associate, Martin Topia, arrived to find the man with blood on his face.

He tried to perform CPR, before running to the nearby hospital to raise the alarm at about 10pm.

After confusion with emergency services, who were unable to find Mr Wharawhara, Mr Topia returned to the park and then dragged Mr Wharawhara to the hospital.

Dunn in the meantime had left, she said.

Ms Murdoch said despite Dunn telling police he didn't know Mr Wharawhara and that he hadn't been to the park, forensic tests found the dead man's blood on his clothes.

But Dunn's lawyer, Sam Wimsett, said his client was only defending himself from an attack by Mr Wharawhara.

An associate of Mr Wharawhara's, Alfred Manu, described to the court how they had spent the day of the attack begging to get money for alcohol and drinking in the upmarket suburb Newmarket.

He said Mr Wharawhara had been complaining about getting his phone back when a frustrated Dunn lashed out.

"He just smacked him in the mouth and he fell back," Mr Manu said. "I only saw one kick in the head."

He said he had seen Mr Wharawhara move, but had been unable to wake him up, before he and Dunn left the scene.

At the time of the Mr Wharawhara's death, police said an ambulance had not been dispatched to the park when Mr Topia arrived, because no specific location was given, and confusion ensued.

The trial, in front of Justice Matthew Palmer, is set down for two weeks.

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