A young Auckland bartender accused of killing a man in central Auckland will defend the manslaughter charge.

Joseph Antonio Halaholo Larson, 20, appeared today for his first High Court appearance before Justice Simon Moore in Auckland.

He is accused of killing Jerico Telea, who was left in a critical condition after what police said was a serious assault on Queen St near Vulcan Lane during the early hours of April 20.

Telea, 24, died in hospital two days later, on Easter Monday.

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Today, Larson pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Justice Moore remanded him on bail and also scheduled a trial for May next year.

Larson will, however, appear in court again in July to review the case.

Several of his family and friends were sitting in the public gallery today for his hearing and supported him as he left the courthouse.

Larson initially appeared in the Auckland District Court charged with intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.

However, the Crown upgraded the charge when Telea died.

Jerico Telea later died in hospital after the alleged assault. Photo / Facebook
Jerico Telea later died in hospital after the alleged assault. Photo / Facebook