Colin Richard Jeffries-Smith does not deny shooting Mongrel Mob member Lance Wayne Waite, but he denies it was murder.

Tonight , a jury overseeing the murder trial of Jeffries-Smith, 28, at the High Court in Rotorua reached its verdict and agreed.

Shortly before 6pm, the jury returned to the courthouse to deliver its verdict.

Jeffries-Smith was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter following the fatal shooting of Waite on January 3, 2018.


The court heard Waite, 58, had taken Jeffries-Smith's car as security for a drug deal gone wrong. Waite died of gunshot wounds at Tauranga Hospital later that same day.

Lance Wayne Waite, 58, was shot dead at Wilrose Place in Gate Pa on January 3, 2018. Photo / File
Lance Wayne Waite, 58, was shot dead at Wilrose Place in Gate Pa on January 3, 2018. Photo / File

Casino Heta Williams, a Black Power gang member, was also on trial defending charges of being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter and unlawful possession of a firearm. He was found guilty of both charges.

The Crown alleged Williams had possession of a .22 Ruger gun at some stage between January 1 and 4, 2018, and loaned it to Jeffries-Smith — urging him to shoot Waite.

The court heard Williams gave Jeffries-Smith a place to hide, fresh clothes, a new SIM card for his phone and coached him what to tell the police about the shooting.

Williams' defence lawyer John Holmes urged the jury not to place undue weight on drawing inferences of guilt without strong evidence. This included there being no evidence of Williams being involved in the drug scene, he said.

Holmes said the Ruger was found in a tent during a police search on January 4, 2018, but Williams was in Gisborne at the time.

A Crown witness gave evidence of overhearing Williams telling Jeffries-Smith the day before the shooting to "stand up for himself" and to shoot Waite. However, Holmes said no other witnesses recalled this conversation.

"Helping out a mate with a place to stay and SIM card is not evidence of guilt," he said.


On Friday, Jeffries-Smith's lawyer Mark Edgar told the jury his client felt like a "sitting duck" and pulled the trigger because he feared for his life and the lives of his family.

"Colin says when he returned to The Trap to ask for [his] car keys back, Waite yells out "you better have the f****n money or your f****n family is going to get it," Edgar said.

Faced with the "gravest fear imaginable" Jeffries-Smith made his fatal decision, he said.