The jury in a High Court trial in Napier has begun considering whether a 14-year-old boy accused of stabbing a man in Flaxmere is guilty of murder.

The jury of seven women and five men in the trial of Omahu teen Haami Hanara was retired by Justice Peter Churchman at 11.54am on the fifth day of the trial.

Hanara has pleaded not guilty to murdering 40-year-old Kelly Alex Donner on March 4 this year.

Hanara, who was with a group of teenagers on a night out stealing in Flaxmere, has admitted a charge of burglary by illegally entering the Flaxmere Tavern compound outside.

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It was there they encountered Donner, who was known to "sleep rough", collecting cigarette butts from a skip bin.

Hanara asked to borrow Donner's torch, but did not return it resulting in Donner becoming angry and "aggressive", before a bottle was smashed over his head and a fight escalated.

Donner died in a pool of blood, with four stab wounds which included the unsurvivable severing of an artery in his neck.

The retirement followed closing addresses by Crown prosecutor Steve Manning and defence counsel Eric Forster, and Justice Churchman's summary.

Three potential verdicts were put to the jury: guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter and not guilty.

Forster referred to the 33-second period where Donner disappeared from a CCTV camera view, followed by Hanara who was holding a knife, then four other youths.

Hanara then returned back into view, knife still in hand. But it was no longer clean, it was red with blood.

Kelly Donner died outside the Flaxmere Tavern on March 4 from stab wounds.
Kelly Donner died outside the Flaxmere Tavern on March 4 from stab wounds.

"We accept that Donner died from the wound to his neck. What happened around the cause of that wound is particularly unclear, as we moved through the trial it's become more unclear," Forster said.

"We know he (Hanara) accepted that he had the knife beforehand and afterwards. I accept that he thinks that no one else possessed the knife. He couldn't say how the wounds were caused, there's no footage."

"The appropriate verdict is one of not guilty, but should you think that my client did stab Mr Donner, then the appropriate verdict would be manslaughter."

Crown prosecutor Steve Manning, said although there were 33 seconds of uncertainty, three witnesses could still account for what happened during that time.

Manning addressed an encounter earlier in the trial, when one witness, also involved in the attack, told the Crown that they saw Hanara "punching" Donner in the "neck and shoulder area".

The witness was talking about the moment when Donner ran away with Hanara behind him.

It was not surprising that the witness did not know Hanara had a knife, Manning said.

"He had it in his pocket and up his sleeve at one stage."

Manning mentioned two other witnesses who also claimed they saw Hanara attack Donner with a knife.

"We know that when Kelly turned to run and had his back turned, he didn't have his carotid artery severed at that point, otherwise we would have seen blood spurting out.

"The defendant was right behind him and had a knife in his hand. We know 33 seconds later the defendant comes back later with the knife and there is blood on it."

Justice Churchman summarised the witness information to the jury members, and said it was important to leave both "sympathy and prejudice" out of their deliberations.

"We know he (Donner) was a rough sleeper, we know there was evidence that he had smoked a cannabis cigarette two hours prior to death, you might feel prejudice against someone who is homeless, or empathetic."

"We know the defendant is only 14, you might feel sympathy or prejudice, these are not matters that should guide your verdict."

"All evidence needs to considered - not just some of it."