Murder trial: jury considers verdict

By Imran Ali

Murder accused Shaylene Wharaerau. Photo / APN
Murder accused Shaylene Wharaerau. Photo / APN

The jury in the case of a young Whangarei woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend who later died is expected to retire today to consider its verdict.

Shaylene Wharerau, 22, is facing a charge of murder and alternative charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and wounding with reckless disregard. Justice John Faire will sum up the case to the jury in the High Court at Whangarei this morning before the seven-man, five-woman jury considers its verdict.

Wharerau stabbed Brandon Panapa-Ripia, 17, during a dispute on October 30, 2012 and he died three weeks later after a wound re-opened and bled.

In her closing address to the jury yesterday, Crown prosecutor Bernadette O'Connor said Wharerau was responsible for stabbing Ripia with a knife which was a substantial and operative cause of death.

The fact that she punched Mr Ripia after he smashed her cellphone showed Wharerau reacted with physical violence when she was angry, Ms O'Connor said.

Wharerau's actions were deliberate and reckless but were definitely not a defensive act. Reacting while angry, upset and frustrated didn't constitute self-defence, she said.

Defence lawyer Arthur Fairley said Mr Ripia told a midwife not long after he was stabbed that it was an accident, that Wharerau didn't mean to do it and that he still loved her. She didn't commit an unlawful act because she was acting in self defence which was justified under law, he told the jury.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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