A Whangarei woman charged with murder after stabbing her boyfriend during a domestic dispute has been found guilty on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

It took the jury in the High Court at Whangarei just over three hours yesterday to find Shaylene Wharerau, 22, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

The guilty verdict means alternative charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and wounding with reckless disregard were not considered by the jury.

Wharerau stabbed Brandon Panapa-Ripia, 17, during a dispute at an Onerahi house on October 30, 2012 and he died three weeks later after a wound re-opened and bled.


In his summing up yesterday, Justice John Faire told the jury they must accept his directions on law and how they applied to the case.

However, he said the jury was the sole arbiter of facts and also decided what evidence to accept or reject.

He reminded them to arrive at their verdicts solely on the evidence before the court and to decide the case without any prejudice against or sympathy for anyone involved in the trial.

Speaking on the onus and standard of proof, Justice Faire said it was not sufficient for the Crown, which had the burden of proving the charges, to persuade the jury that Wharerau was probably or likely guilty.

He explained that the jury needed to deal with alternative charges only if they found her not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Wharerau raised the issue of self defence and Justice Faire said the jury should consider her state of mind at the time she stabbed Mr Ripia and the circumstances that led to it including their ages, domestic relationship, cellphone use and the damage caused to it and the assaults prior to the stabbing.

The jury must also consider whether the force Wharerau used was reasonable in the circumstances to justify self defence, he said.

The judge said she didn't have to prove her innocence and the jury must not assume that she was guilty just because she elected not to give evidence at the completion of the Crown case.


The jury retired to consider the verdicts at 11.07am and returned with the verdict about 2.20pm. Wharerau is on bail and will be sentenced on October 15.