Double stabbing trial — jury shown CCTV footage

Naya Wharekura is on trial in the High Court at Invercargill following a fatal stabbing in Don St...
Naya Wharekura is on trial in the High Court at Invercargill following a fatal stabbing in Don St nearly two years ago. PHOTO: FELICITY DEAR
A jury has watched footage of a double stabbing in central Invercargill after the knife-wielding man pleaded not guilty to murder.

Yesterday, Naya Ropiu Fabian Wharekura, 28, appeared in the High Court at Invercargill for the first day of his jury trial.

He denied the murder of Chad Terrance Parekura and the attempted murder of Austin Jazz McGregor following an incident on April 23, 2022, but pleaded guilty to alternative charges of manslaughter and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Yesterday the jury was shown CCTV footage of the fatal incident in Don St near the Invercargill Courthouse.

Wharekura was seen lunging towards Mr Parekura, stabbing him in his left side.

The victim stumbled to the ground and bled to death at the scene.

The defendant then turned to Mr McGregor and attacked him too, resulting in the victim being rushed to hospital

Earlier in the night, Wharekura and some associates were attempting to buy some MDMA.

Mr McGregor agreed to sell them a half gram for $150.

The defendant and some associates were driven by a 16-year-old to Tillermans Nightclub and parked outside.

Mr McGregor got into the back seat of the vehicle and Wharekura took the drugs, but only handed over $35, before the group drove back to an address in Crawford St.

Meanwhile, Mr McGregor went back to Tillermans Nightclub, where Mr Parekura was.

The drug dealer explained to his friends how the defendant had ripped him off.

While at the Crawford St house, Wharekura was convinced to pay Mr McGregor the outstanding cash.

The Crown said that was where the defendant armed himself with a boning knife.

He went back to Tillermans Nightclub and parked outside in Don St.

The Crown said Mr McGregor got a text from the group saying they had arrived.

Mr McGregor, Mr Parekura and some acquaintances went out to the street to meet the group, who were waiting beside the vehicle.

Mr Parekura ran towards the 16-year-old driver and threw a punch at him, but missed.

The next 13 seconds of footage was frozen before the two stabbings ensued.

The following Monday police found Wharekura, who told them that on the night of the incident he had come home from work, had some alcohol and gone to sleep.

He said he knew nothing about the stabbing and when he was shown the footage, denied it was him in the video.

Crown prosecutor Mary-Jane Thomas said the case was "very narrow" and the sole issue was the defendant’s intent when he struck the two men.

She said the jury would have to ascertain the defendant’s intentions at the time.

Ms Thomas said the drug deal had been organised through messaging but the police did not have any texts to produce as evidence.

Counsel John Westgate agreed the trial was solely focused on the issue of intent.

"Put your minds into the mind of the defendant at the time that he stabbed those two people", he told the jury.

"What we are talking about here is two single stabs ... one to each person."

Justice Paul Radich is presiding over the trial, which is expected to take two weeks.

Today, there will be further questioning of the officer in charge of collecting CCTV footage.

felicity.dear@odt.co.nz , PIJF Court Reporter

 

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