West Coaster guilty of friend's manslaughter

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A West Coast man has been acquitted of murder but found guilty of the manslaughter of his friend, following a four-day trial.

Reefton's Tony Harris, 56, was charged with murdering Shane Douglas Bensemann, inflicting a knife wound to the heart on Father's Day last year. He denied murder and said he was acting in self defence.

In the High Court at Greymouth yesterday, the jurors returned a majority verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, nearly 24 hours after they retired, The Press reported.

Mr Bensemann died from a stab wound following the September 7 evening with Harris that involved homebrew, cannabis and martial arts.

The pair were sparring and Harris told police Mr Bensemann had walked into the knife he was holding.

Justice John Wild indicated he was considering home detention for Harris, who was bailed to live on Waiheke Island and will be sentenced on November 3.


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