Whanganui man David Bourke has been found not guilty of murdering his brother, with the jury accepting that the killing was provoked.

David Bourke, a 48-year-old meat worker, had been accused of shooting dead Timothy Barry Bourke, 49, on October 4 last year.

The jury returned its verdict at the Palmerston North High Court today following eight hours of deliberations, finding David Bourke guilty of manslaughter rather than murder.

During the trial, the Crown said David Bourke shot his brother three times at close range, twice in the chest and once under the chin while he was sitting in the back seat of a car.

He was stopped by police while driving through Dannevirke and pulled a shotgun on an officer. Following a crash north of Norsewood in southern Hawke's Bay, David Bourke fled on foot carrying a shotgun, leaving his brother's body in the backseat. He was found in a golf club toilet block 40 hours later.

The Crown argued his actions were planned and amounted to murder.

However, the defence said both brothers had suffered from depression and David Bourke had been provoked into pulling the trigger following Timothy Bourke's continuous pleas for his brother to end his life.

The jury also returned a not guilty verdict to a charge of wounding with intent, relating to a farm worker who Bourke shot while on the run.

The provocation defence was abolished by the Government last year but was available to David Bourke because the alleged offence took place before the law change.

Bourke's lawyer Steve Winter said his conviction for manslaughter was proof a provocation law is needed.

He said the provocation defence, or at least something like it, needs to be in the legal system.

Bourke will be sentenced next month.

- NZPA, Newstalk ZB