A video recording of Haumoana man Mark Beale as he lay bloodied and beaten with fatal injuries was deleted, a court has heard.

Johnnie Puna, 19, is on trial in the High Court at Napier accused of murdering 45-year-old Beale who died in hospital after he was found with critical injuries near his home in the seaside settlement on Waitangi Day.

The jury of eight men and four women yesterday heard from Puna's uncle, Tuhungia Puna, who was with him that February evening and later found a video of the dying man on his phone.

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Crown prosecutor Steve Manning told the court on Monday an accidental fall had been the "catalyst" for a brutal, prolonged attack on Beale.


"It seems Mr Puna chose to attack Mr Beale for an innocuous and simple reason. Mr Beale accidentally fell over, pulling Mr Puna to the ground and causing him to receive a minor cut to his lip."

The pair had been drinking after meeting on Haumoana beach, sharing Beale's home-brew vodka, and Puna was angered when they fell.

The jury heard Puna repeatedly booted the Haumoana resident in the head, knocking him out and then waiting for him to wake up before continuing the assault.

On Tuesday his teenaged cousin described the defendant as "possessed".

"If I wasn't there I don't think he would've stopped. I think he would've kept on going. I think he would have killed him on that spot."

Yesterday his uncle, who had spent much of the night tending to fishing nets on the beach, said he could tell his nephew was upset and angry that night.

Puna told him he'd hit Beale because he had grabbed him when falling over, he said.

He told the court he couldn't see Beale's bloodied face in the darkness, but later found a video recording of the dying man on his phone and watched a small portion before deleting it.

He said he hadn't taken the video, adding it must have been one of his nephews.

Police managed to retrieve a thumbnail photo of the recording and showed it to the jury.

Tuhungia Puna said he learned the next day Beale had died and put two and two together.

"He might have hurt him or something but I didn't realise the seriousness of it."

The trial before Justice Helen Cull, which commenced on Monday, is expected to last a week.