In his first interview since being released from prison for killing a teenage tagger, Bruce Emery says Justin La Mont should never have been charged with murder.

Emery was convicted of manslaughter and handed a four-year, three month jail sentence for the 2008 killing of Pihema Cameron, 15. He was initially charged with murder, but found not guilty and subsequently convicted of manslaughter.

Cameron was stabbed after Emery had discovered him tagging the garage door of his Manurewa home, with Emery chasing him and another youth for 300m before stabbing him.

Talking to the Herald on Sunday, Emery said of La Mont: "He was lucky he wasn't found guilty but why they even have to charged him in the first place is ... really?'."

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Emery's defence after being charged was that he was acting in self defence.

This week he said although he sometimes thought about the incident that claimed Cameron's life, it was now "ancient history".

He believed "there were problems" in the neighbourhood at the time of the stabbing and despite his family calling for help they never got it from the authorities.

Emery said before he went to prison he wanted to send a letter to Cameron's mother to "make amends". But all family members had only approached him with anger.

"[If] I'd never heard him, [if] I didn't see him I wouldn't have woken up and seen the graffiti," Emery said.

"I would have just been a little more frustrated. But I can't take all the responsibility - he could've easily put up his hands and said 'You caught me'."

Emery was released from prison in late 2010, having served less than two years' prison time.

Emery, his wife and their three daughters have since moved from Manurewa for a fresh start.