13 Dec 2008

Manslaughter verdict in tagger trial

5:56 am on 13 December 2008

The killer of a teenage tagger has been found guilty of manslaughter at the High Court in Auckland.

Bruce Emery fatally stabbed Pihema Cameron, 15, after he caught him spray-painting his garage door in South Auckland in January.

Emery, 50, was facing a charge of murder and has been remanded in custody.

The jury retired shortly before midday on Thursday and returned on Friday with a verdict of guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter. Jurors took about 14 hours to reach the verdict.

During the trial, the Crown said Emery took the law into his own hands, but the defence argued he was only trying to protect himself and what happened was an accident.

Outside court, defence lawyer Chris Comesky said Emery was exhausted, ever-mindful of his actions and will always think of the hurt the Cameron family will continue to go through.

However, Mr Comesky said the verdict is no getting away from the fact that the taking of Pihema Cameron's life is tragic.

Jury wrong over verdict - grandfather

Family and friends of the victim gasped when the verdict was read out on Friday.

The grandfather of Pihema Cameron said the jury was wrong to convict his killer of manslaughter, and not murder.

Brian Cameron said he thinks the jury was influenced by his grandson's unfair portrayal as a tagger and troublemaker.

He said the whole family is gutted by the decision, but the boy's mother is taking it especially hard.