19 Sep 2009

More calls for repeal of provocation defence

8:18 pm on 19 September 2009

The family of a man beaten to death with a banjo hopes the provocation defence, which his killer used to escape a murder conviction, will be repealed.

Ferdinand Ambach, 31, was sentenced to a minimum of eight years jail at the High Court in Auckland for the manslaughter of 69-year-old Ron Brown.

Ambach was acquitted of murder in July after his lawyers used the defence of provocation, saying Mr Brown had made advances to him.

Before his sentencing for manslaughter, the victim's sister, Colleen Wise, read a statement explaining how arguing provocation had caused her family needless additional grief.

Justice Winkelmann said there was no evidence of a sexual assault and a very low level of provocation was involved. She said it was a truly cruel and brutal crime that was as close to murder as one could get.

Peter Kaye says he stands by the defence of provocation and rejects calls for it to be scrapped. He says he will encourage his client to appeal his sentence.

The officer in charge of the case, Detective Inspector Greg Cramer, says Amback remained emotionless and showed no remorse throughout the investigation and trial.