Teen’s intent ‘at heart of murder trial’

December 1, 2016 | By More

Court House-Sept-2013-07A jury has been told it must focus on the intent of a 16-year-old at the moment he bashed an 87-year-old man over the head with a bottle in his Upper Riccarton home.

Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton QC told jury members that his client – now-18-year-old Taniela Kotoitoga Daven Tiako Waitokia – had not intended to kill elderly Harold Richardson, and he had not killed him recklessly, and he had no intention to bash him for a robbery.

Mr Eaton was delivering his closing address to the jury on the fourth day of the murder trial of Waitokia before Justice Cameron Mander and a jury in the High Court at Christchurch.

He said Waitokia’s adolescent mind had been ravaged by drugs. At 16, he did not have the wisdom or cognitive function of the adult, and did not think of the consequences at the time of the assault.

He told the jury: “Intent is at the heart of the case.” The jury had to consider what was in Waitokia’s mind at the moment he inflicted the fatal blows.

Waitokia had explained in his video interview with the police – played to the trial – that he had gone to see Richardson to get some money, but Richardson had accused him of stealing and grabbed him. Waitokia then grabbed the nearest thing – a bottle – and started hitting him. He left Richardson lying on the floor bleeding, but not dead.

Waitokia’s life had been “dominated and controlled by drugs”, he said. “It is not an excuse for what happened. It is just the facts of this case.”

Crown prosecutor Claire Boshier rejected any defence suggestion that the case involved a teenager, affected by drugs who did not know what he was doing, and who had no intention to kill.

Instead, there had been “strong elements of deliberation” in his judgment and decision making, in asking for gloves or socks for his hands ahead of time, and choosing the items he would take afterwards.

He had targeted Richardson’s head, striking 14 separate blows hard enough to fracture the skull and break bones in the face, as well as bones in the arm and hand as the elderly man tried to defend himself.

“He wasn’t so out of it on drugs that he did not know what he was doing. A drug-affected intent is still an intent,” she said.

The Crown alleged Waitokia either intended to kill Richardson, or recklessly killed him, or killed him when he intended to commit a robbery. “Under our law, all these three states of mind amount to murder.”

Justice Cameron Mander will sum up for the jury from 9am on Friday before they retire to consider their verdict – either murder or manslaughter.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Focus

Pin It on Pinterest