Accused denies blame for Porirua hammer and knife attack

4:55 pm on 8 May 2017

A man accused of attacking two Porirua women in their home, cutting one's throat with a knife and beating the other with a hammer, has denied responsibility for what happened.

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High Court in Wellington Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Ruka Hemopo, 51, is before the High Court in Wellington charged with attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

However, his lawyer told the jury that it was the women involved who actually attacked the defendant.

In his opening address, Crown prosecutor Dale La Hood said early on the morning of 13 May 2013 Mr Hemopo asked the women for cigarettes and, when they did not bring him any, he attacked them with a serrated knife and a hammer.

He said the defendant punched both women, before attacking one with the hammer, using both the head and claw of the tool.

"One of the blows from the claw caused a deep penetrating wounding to her right arm above the elbow. [The blows also] fractured her right arm and right shoulder blade."

Mr La Hood said in an effort to stop the attack, the other woman said she needed to use the toilet.

He said while she was doing so, the woman injured with the hammer escaped from the house and raised the alarm.

Mr La Hood said the defendant then took the remaining woman into a bedroom and pushed her onto the bed.

He said Mr Hemopo had a 20cm knife with a serrated blade which he used to slash at the woman's throat, telling her he "had to do it".

"At that point he cut her throat. She was screaming and crying and trying to push him away and he was also screaming and crying."

"He said, 'I've got to kill you and I've got to kill me.' [Mr Hemopo] then used the knife to cut his own throat and both throat wounds were bleeding profusely."

Mr La Hood said the police arrived and, when they entered the bedroom, one officer shot Mr Hemopo and another tasered him.

All three were taken to Wellington Hospital.

Mr La Hood said the defendant did not make any statement to the police but claimed the women had used the knife and hammer on him.

The defence lawyer, Quentin Duff, told the jury everyone in the house on the morning of the attack, including the police, reacted in the way their personalities, life experience and training had made them behave.

He said his client had not suddenly attacked the women because he was in a rage over not having any cigarettes, but instead the women attacked him.

"[One] pulled out a knife ... and the defence will say it was her who was responsible for the attacks in the lounge and bedroom and she inflicted superficial wounds on herself.

"She knew the police would react to type - when they saw him 'attacking her' they'd drag him away and blame him for what occurred."

Justice Ellis told the jury the hearing was a retrial ordered by the Court of Appeal, but she told jurors not to concern themselves about why that might be.

Eighteen witnesses will give evidence for the Crown.

The case is being heard by a jury of seven men and five women and is expected to run until the end of next week.