A man accused of chasing a man into the river after allegedly assaulting him is heading to trial.

Lawyer Russell Boot didn't reapply for name suppression for Neville Patrick Harris, who appeared via audio visual link in the High Court at Hamilton today, charged with the manslaughter of homeless man Tama Retimana.

Harris entered a not guilty plea to the unusual charge of causing the death of Retimana by frightening him so much his response caused him to die, and thereby committed manslaughter. Retimana was allegedly assaulted and chased into the river.

A kayaker found Retimana's body in the Waikato River near Ann St on December 27, downstream from his makeshift living quarters along the river.

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Boot confirmed Harris will fight the charge and a trial date has been set down for May 22.

A pre-trial callover will occur on April 11.

Harris was remanded in custody.