You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Not guilty in homeless man drowning case

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/05/2017
© NZ Police

A jury has taken only two hours to acquit a homeless Hamilton man on the charge of manslaughter after the death of Tama Retimana in the Waikato River on Christmas eve last year.

Neville Harris showed no emotion as the not guilty verdict was delivered in his favour. He had been drinking with the victim and two other people down by the river bank where the four of them lived when things turned ugly.

The 48 year old became incensed when Mr Retimana offered him a chance to have a threesome with his partner and that's when Harris attacked the father of two.

Harris claimed he was trying to protect the woman from being sexually assaulted by the 29 year old when he punched and kneed him in the head.

Mr Retimana ran into the river to escape Harris but later drowned as a result of being heavily drunk and under the influence of alcohol. Defence lawyer Russell Boot successfully argued his client's actions were both justified and reasonable under the circumstances.

"Mr Retimana's behaviour in sexually violating his partner required Mr Harris to intervene. He had to defend someone that was incapable of defending herself," Mr Boot said.

The crown tried to paint the defendant as someone who had no interest in protecting the woman and the assault was motivated more by being personally offended at the victim's behaviour.

Prosecutor Ross Douch said the violence of the attack caused Mr Retimana to take evasive action to avoid being hit again and that would cost him his life.

However the jury did not accept this conclusion.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon