A forestry worker has been found guilty of manslaughter after a man he fought in a Kerikeri pub later died.

A jury at the High Court at Whangarei decided late last night that Allan James Clapperton, 42, was guilty of the manslaughter of Kerikeri man Lyle Rapana on November 30 or December 1, 2001.

Clapperton will appear for sentencing in the High Court on May 9.

Earlier, defence lawyer Grant Anson told the court that Clapperton was acting in self-defence when he punched Mr Rapana at the Homestead Hotel in Kerikeri.


A witness described how Mr Rapana told him he was going "to bottle Allan" in the toilets of the pub before Clapperton and Mr Rapana started fighting, Mr Anson said.

"When Mr Rapana resorted to the bottle as a weapon and tried to hit Mr Clapperton he was obliged to act," he said.

"That is self defence and that deserves a verdict of not guilty."

Clapperton accepted responsibility for his actions that night, but he acted to defend himself and that was allowed under the law, Mr Anson said.

A pathologist found that Mr Rapana died as a result of injuries to the brain that were caused by blunt force, such as punches.

However, crown prosecutor Phil Smith said Clapperton assaulted Mr Rapana to "teach him a lesson" and that it was not self defence.

Mr Smith said there was a significant size difference between the two men, with Mr Rapana being a "tiny little man" of 1.7m and 52kg.