Girlfriend found guilty of manslaughter

By Imran Ali -
Murder accused Shaylene Wharaerau in the High Court at Whangarei. Photo / Northern Advocate
Murder accused Shaylene Wharaerau in the High Court at Whangarei. Photo / Northern Advocate

A Whangarei woman charged with murder after stabbing her boyfriend during a domestic dispute has been found guilty on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

It took the jury in the High Court at Whangarei just over three hours today to find Shaylene Wharerau, 22, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

The guilty verdict means alternative charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and wounding with reckless disregard were not considered by the jury.

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

In his summing up yesterday, Justice John Faire told the jury they must accept his directions on law and how they applied to the case.

However, he said the jury was the sole arbiter of facts and also decided what evidence to accept or reject.

He reminded them to arrive at their verdicts solely on the evidence before the court and to decide the case without any prejudice against or sympathy for anyone involved in the trial.

Speaking on the onus and standard of proof, Justice Faire said it was not sufficient for the Crown who had the burden of proving the charges to persuade the jury that Wharerau was probably or likely guilty.

The jury retired to consider the verdicts at 11.07am and returned with the verdict about 2.20pm.

Wharerau is on bail and will be sentenced in October.

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