Daniel Smith, who was yesterday convicted of murdering
Oamaru teenager William Lewis, is pictured being escorted
to court in Oamaru last year by Sergeant Tony Woodbridge
(left) and Constable Ross Lory. Photo by David Bruce.
An Oamaru teenager will spend at least 10 years in jail
for killing another Oamaru teenager in April last year.
Daniel Ethan Smith (17) was sentenced in the High Court at
Timaru yesterday to life imprisonment with a minimum
non-parole period of 10 years for murdering William Lewis
Smith was also 16 years old when he stabbed Mr Lewis three
times in the back about 9.45pm on April 1 last year, after a
running altercation in central Oamaru that ended in the fatal
confrontation in Exe St.
Smith was convicted of murder by a jury of 10 women and two
men on May 6 and yesterday was back in the same courtroom for
sentencing by Justice John Fogarty.
It emerged during sentencing yesterday Smith had offered to
plead guilty to manslaughter and, when that was rejected,
denied the murder charge, claiming self-defence during his
Smith either stood or sat silently in the dock with his head
down and eyes on the floor for virtually all of the two hours
and 45 minutes in court, including the reading of victim
impact statements by Mr Lewis' father, Peter Lewis, mother
Jenny Brokenshire and stepmother Tania Mann.
The only interruption came when one of Mr Lewis' family
shouted "get a real job" while Smith's counsel, Bernadette
Farnan, was making submissions.
That prompted Justice Fogarty to warn about 50 people in the
gallery not to speak "otherwise we will not be able to do
this task [sentencing] properly".
There were no other outbursts, even after Justice Fogarty
left the court.
Ms Farnan said a sentencing such as yesterday's was always
very difficult and there "can be no winners".
She tried to argue a sentence of life imprisonment was unjust
because of Smith's age and circumstances surrounding the
stabbing, but the judge said the facts presented during the
hearing and his statutory obligations meant a life sentence
was the only option.
Ms Farnan then argued for a minimum non-parole period of 10
years, the least that could be handed down under the law.
Crown prosecutor Andrew McRae submitted an 11 to 12-year
non-parole period was appropriate to deter others in the
community from committing the same offence.
It was also needed to send a message to like-minded youths
that carrying knives in a public place was totally
Justice Fogarty said Parliament had indicated it was only on
rare occasions a life sentence should not be imposed for
murder, and there had only been three cases in the past
While acknowledging Smith did not want to fight Lewis when
challenged, was pushed, taunted and pressured, the judge said
the three stabs in the back with a hunting knife buried to
the hilt was not justified as self-defence.
That was coupled with Smith's very poor history of
self-control, reflected in his previous record of offences
dealt with by the Youth Court.