It took less than an hour for a Rotorua jury to acquit local rigger Taratoa Hori Hokianga of the manslaughter of his stepfather Niwhai Bryan in November last year.
Thanking the six men and six women for their jury service Justice Mathew Downs told them he entirely agreed with the trial's result.
He dismissed Hokianga.
The trial began in the High Court at Rotorua on Monday with 39-year-old Hokianga pleading not guilty to the charge.
The Crown claimed he caused his terminally ill stepfather's death by assaulting him, that assault was compression to his neck.
In evidence earlier this week Hokianga admitted he had placed a hand on Bryan's neck for no more than 10 seconds while they wrestled in a garage at his Susan St home where both had been drinking heavily.
He said he'd done this after a very drunk Bryan had put his hand up his shorts "out of the blue" and fondled him intimately.
Whānau who supported both Hokianga and Bryan welcomed the verdict, some with mixed feelings, but all agreed it was just.
Outside the court yesterday a visibly shaking Hokianga, clutching a paper bag holding his personal possessions, said all he wanted to do now was look to the future.
"I am not a violent or angry person," he said.
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When he put his hand on Niwhai Bryan's throat he did so because he "did it to me" [touched him sexually].
"Losing my stepfather was very upsetting, he meant a lot to me, I respected him, I didn't want to bury him."
Asked how he'd be celebrating his acquittal, he said he'd be visiting his brothers "but I won't be touching alcohol that's for sure".
Hugging her son and talking through her tears, Hokianga's mother Bernadene Takuta said she was simply relieved the whole affair was now behind her.
"I loved my husband, I also love my son."
She said the last year had been very emotional for her and her whānau.
"If I had not been inside my own rohe [territory] Tūhoe, I don't think I would have got through this but I have had the support of my whānau, my iwi, my work colleagues."
She said she hadn't been expecting the not guilty verdict.
"I was fearing the worst, I am so relieved I can only greet it with tears."
She said she had no idea her husband had touched her son inappropriately until he gave evidence about it happening.
"I was not shocked but surprised my husband would do that to the man he regarded as his son, although I knew he had behaved that way [sexually inappropriately] previously."
Takuta talked about her job as a practice nurse with Tūhoe Uru Taumataua, based in Tāneatua, near Whakatāne.
"On Monday I got a call asking me to come back to work because White Island had blown up, they said they needed all the help they could get. Tragic as the eruption is I had to say 'no' because I was here at court giving evidence and supporting my son."
She said she would be spending time with her moko (grandchildren) to mark her son's acquittal before returning to work on Monday "a very relieved woman".
Niwhai Bryan's sister, Ani Sharland, said she had mixed feelings about the verdict which had brought the family some closure "but we still have to face knowing he is dead."