A Whangarei man accused of killing his son has pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter.
Phillip Beazley, 61, pleaded to the charge when he appeared for a callover in the High Court at Whangarei yesterday.
He killed his son, Leonard Nigel Kingi, 25, at a house on Balmoral Rd, Tikipunga, on January 26, last year.
Police initially charged him with assault, pending a postmortem examination, but later laid a charge of murder to which he pleaded not guilty in February last year. Beazley's lawyer Arthur Fairley yesterday informed Justice Mark Woolford, who presided over via audio visual link from Auckland, a 10-day jury trial was set down for this month but there had been a new development to the case after discussions between Beazley's lawyer and the Crown. The alternative charge of manslaughter was then put to Beazley yesterday to which he pleaded guilty. Crown solicitor Mike Smith said the murder charge would be withdrawn at sentencing.
A large number of family and friends of Beazley who sat in the public gallery openly wept as the plea of guilty and conviction were entered.
Justice Woolford remanded Beazley in custody for sentencing on April 27 and ordered a pre-sentence report.
Beazley first appeared in the Whangarei District Court on January 27, 2014, on a charge of assault and was granted interim name suppression and remanded in custody. He re-appeared on that charge on February 9, 2014 and was again remanded in custody.
Mr Kingi's death became the police's first homicide investigation in Northland last year. Two ambulances went to a Balmoral Rd house on January 26 last year but paramedics found he was dead when they arrived. Police then started an investigation dubbed Operation Tide.