Murder trial abandoned

Naya Wharekura has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder, and yesterday...
Naya Wharekura has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder, and yesterday his trial in the High Court at Invercargill was abandoned. PHOTO: FELICITY DEAR
A murder trial has been abandoned just hours into its second day of evidence.

Naya Ropiu Fabian Wharekura was before the High Court at Invercargill defending charges of murdering Chad Terrance Parekura and attempting to murder Austin Jazz McGregor, but pleaded guilty to alternative charges of manslaughter and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

A pathologist yesterday gave evidence about the fatal wound that was inflicted by the defendant when a juror appeared to faint.

The incident resulted in a brief delay to proceedings and later the trial was aborted.

"Several matters that have arisen. . . have led me to the clear and ultimate conclusion that this trial must come to an end," Justice Paul Radich told the jury after the lunch break.

The pathologist explained that a post-mortem showed no evidence of Mr Parekura having any underlying disease, disability or pre-existing injury.

He said the victim sustained a single stab wound, 5cm long, between his ninth and 10th ribs on his left side.

The knife punctured the aorta, the largest artery in the body.

At the trial’s outset, the Crown told the jury on the night of April 22, 2022, Wharekura and a group were attempting to buy some MDMA.

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

Outside Tillermans Nightclub, Wharekura took the drugs, but only handed over $35, before the group drove back to an address in Crawford St.

Mr McGregor went into the nightclub and explained to Mr Parekura what had happened.

The Crown said Wharekura armed himself with a boning knife before returning to town to pay the outstanding debt.

When they arrived, Mr Parekura and others ran out on to Don St and jurors were played footage of the double stabbing that followed.

Counsel John Westgate said the defendant had attacked both men, but not with murderous intent.

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

The trial will be rescheduled.