Guilty plea to manslaughter
A 21-year-old Kaikohe man has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of fellow Kaikohe resident Christopher Vujcich in January.
Patrick Dennis Tarawa, who was to have gone on trial on November 19, entered his plea in the High Court at Whanga¯rei on Tuesday.
Police believe that 58-year-old Mr Vujcich was the victim of a road rage incident resulting from a relatively minor driving error, when he pulled out in front of another motorist. The other driver allegedly followed him to Kowhai Ave, and confronted him when he pulled into a driveway. As Mr Vujcich turned away he was allegedly punched from behind.
He died in Bay of Islands Hospital next morning.
Tarawa was initially charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and was remanded in custody after his first appearance in the Whanga¯rei District Court. The charge was upgraded to manslaughter after an autopsy in Auckland. On Tuesday Justice Gerard van Bohemen issued Tarawa with a three-strikes warning, vacated his earlier not guilty plea and remanded him on bail to December 6 for sentencing.
Christopher Vujcich, believed by police to have been the victim of road rage.