A teenage killer will seek release from jail four weeks after being sentenced to five years behind bars for slaying 17-year-old league player Luke Tipene.
Vincent Angene Skeen, 18, is due to have a parole hearing this month. Last month he was acquitted of the alleged murder of Tipene, but found him guilty of manslaughter in the High Court at Auckland.
Skeen had been on remand for 600 days and the New Zealand Parole Board has confirmed he is due for a parole hearing in the week of September 19.
At the trial's outset , defence counsel Lorraine Smith told the jury her client had done something "very foolish" and accepted he was guilty of the less serious charge.
The pair had never met before and neither had planned to attend a party in Grey Lynn, which spilled onto the street in the early hours of November 1, 2014.
Tipene went to Great North Rd with his cousins after hearing his friend may be involved in a fight, while Skeen was there to see his girlfriend.
The pair ended up squaring off after the defendant allegedly intervened in what was supposed to be a one-on-one fight between two other boys.
What happened next was hotly contested during the trial.
The Crown said Skeen deliberately smashed a bottle and attacked Tipene with the jagged shard, stabbing him in the neck and severing his jugular vein.
The defence was only prepared to concede the teenager had perhaps picked up the broken bottle neck and flailed his arms blindly at the victim during the course of a street brawl.
Skeen either meant to kill Tipene or at the very least knew the harm he was inflicting would potentially cause death, prosecutor Brian Dickey said.
The jury disagreed.
Outside court Tipene's uncle Sean Wilson said the experience of going through two trials and seeing the killer acquitted of murder was "very traumatic".
Tipene's family and friends have taken to social media to express surprise after his mother Terry Wilson received notice of the upcoming Parole Board hearing.
The Herald contacted Smith, this afternoon offering comment on behalf of her client. She declined. An offer for comment was also extended to Skeen's family, through Smith.
THE PAROLE BOARD PROCESS:
When an offender becomes eligible, the New Zealand Parole Board considers their case and decides whether they are released into the community under the supervision of a probation officer.
Prisoners serving over two years
Unless the court has imposed a longer minimum non-parole period, all offenders serving sentences of more than two years become eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentence.
If granted parole, the New Zealand Parole Board must impose at least standard release conditions and it may also impose special conditions on the offender.
Prisoners serving less than two years
Prisoners serving sentences of less than two years are released after serving half of their sentence. They are not seen by the Parole Board but may be subject to release conditions imposed by the court that sentenced them.
More information on parole can be found on the New Zealand Parole Board website