20 Nov 2008

Hung jury again in South Auckland murder case

6:14 pm on 20 November 2008

A jury has again been unable to convict a man accused of murdering another man during a gang brawl in South Auckland.

Prestman Vesiputa Tauira was being re-tried for running down Faafetai Lafolua with a vehicle and dragging his body more 2km in Otahuhu in August 2006.

At the High Court in Auckland on Thursday, the jury was discharged by Justice Allan after it reached an impasse following 24 hours of deliberations.

The judge acknowledged that the case was complex and dealt with many interlocking legal issues.

The trial was in its fifth week after the jury in the first trial was unable to reach a verdict. The Crown says it will pursue a third trial.

Mr Tauira was remanded on bail until 25 February for a callover in the High Court.

Detective Sergeant Brett Shields, the officer in charge of the prosecution, says the Lafolua family is upset and frustrated at Thursday's outcome.

"It's been a long and difficult process for the Lafolua extended family and they're aware now that a process has to be followed for a third trial.

"The family clearly would like a third trial and an opportunity to have closure for this matter."

Mr Shields says he does not know what more police can do to get the outcome they want.