It took less than an hour for a Rotorua jury to acquit local rigger Taratoa Hori Hokianga of the manslaughter of his stepfather Niwhai Bryan in November last year.

Thanking the six men and six women for their jury service Justice Mathew Downs told them he entirely agreed with the trial's result.

The trial began in the High Court at Rotorua on Monday with 39-year-old Hokianga pleading not guilty to the charge.

The Crown claimed he caused his terminally ill stepfather's death by assaulting him, that assault was compression to his neck.

In evidence yesterday Hokianga admitted he had placed a hand on Bryan's neck for no more than 10 seconds while they wrestled in a garage at his Susan St home where both had been drinking heavily.


He said he'd done this after a very drunk Bryan had put his hand up his shorts "out of the blue" and fondled him intimately.

When he summed the case up this morning up Justice Downs talked at length about the legal definition of self-defence.

Hokianga's lawyer Brian Foote advanced self-defence as the reason for Hokianga putting his stepfather in a stranglehold.

The judge also raised the issue of an admission the Crown produced in evidence of Bryan's previous historical convictions for sexual offending involving girls under 16.

"The mere fact Bryan had these convictions doesn't necessarily mean he sexual assaulted Hokianga," the judge said. However, he emphasised that was entirely a matter for the jury to decide.

Outside the court whānau who supported both Hokianga and Bryan welcomed the verdict, some with mixed feelings, but all agreed it was just.