After two days of deliberations, jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a South Auckland man who was accused of murder despite Crown prosecutors and the defence having agreed he wasn't the one who pulled the trigger.
Justice Gerard van Bohemen declared a mistrial, meaning prosecutors will have to present the case against Timothy Kahurangi Huriwaka again in front of a new jury if they wish to continue pursuing charges.
Prosecutors alleged during the trial that Huriwaka held a grudge against a man who had talked to police about him, sparking a confrontation about a year later, 10 days after he was released from jail.
The gunman was Michael Robinson, who travelled with Huriwaka to the Ōtara home on February 28, 2020, authorities said. Robinson pleaded guilty to murder prior to Huriwaka's trial. Huriwaka was charged as a party.
Prosecutors alleged Huriwaka brought Robinson to the Bairds Rd home that night along with two teens to intimidate Bruce Lee Ngamu for having reported Huriwaka to police a year earlier on an unrelated matter.
Bruce Lee Ngamu was unharmed, but his brother Joseph Ngamu was shot in the stomach — surviving — and another man who has name suppression was killed.
Defence attorney Shane Cassidy had earlier told jurors Robinson acted alone.
"There was no plan or agreement or understanding, certainly not one that Mr Huriwaka was aware of," he told jurors during opening statements last week, suggesting the grudge theory made little sense when two people unrelated to the police complaint were shot.
"Only Mr Robinson knows why he did what he did," he said.
But Crown prosecutor David Stevens said it was Huriwaka who knew the people at the residence, and Huriwaka who arranged the confrontation.
"It was not a social visit," he said. "The Crown says they are both responsible for what happened when they arrived.
"The defendant was very much a part of what happened that night."
Huriwaka was remanded into custody immediately after jurors were sent home, to await his next court appearance early next month.
"You clearly worked very hard over the last two weeks," Justice van Bohemen told the jurors before dismissing them. "That you have not been able to reach a verdict is no reflection on you."