23 May 2017

Homeless man says he lost control in Christmas Eve attack

5:34 pm on 23 May 2017

A homeless man accused of assaulting another rough sleeper, who drowned in the Waikato River, lost control because the victim was having sex with a woman in front of him, a court has been told.

Neville Harris in the High Court in Hamilton

Neville Harris Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

Neville Harris, 48, is on trial in the High Court in Hamilton for the manslaughter of 29-year-old Tama Retimana on Christmas Eve last year.

The jury has watched a police interview with the accused in January.

Both men were living rough on the riverbank at the time.

Mr Harris told officers he and another friend were disgusted by Mr Retimana's behaviour because it was inappropriate, and the woman was drunk.

He told the police that at this point he just lost it.

He said he punched and kneed Mr Retimana, who then stumbled down to the river and jumped in.

Mr Harris said he last saw Mr Retimana climbing onto logs at the base of the Boundary Road bridge.