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Co-accused described as "naive and trusting"

Fri 15 Apr 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The mother of the partner of one of the two co-accused facing charges of murder after the death of a gay man following a December 2014 assault in an Epson motel has given that defendant a glowing character reference in court this morning. Over the past two weeks of the trial the crown has proposed that close friends Leonard Nattrass Bergquist and Beauen Wallace-Loretz, both then 17, planned to attack and rob an older gay man, Ihaia Gillman-Harris. The defense says Gillman-Harris subjected Nattrass-Bergquist to a violent sexual attack and was fatally injured as the two young men tried to fight him off. The mother of Nattrass-Bergquist's girlfriend, described the co-accused as a moral and courteous man who visited her home frequently during his two-year relationship with her daughter. She described him as “a member of my family' and a moral, loyal and helpful person. She said he was also “a little naive and gullible... innocent” and trusting. She said she never saw him exhibit any signs of anger or violence and even after the fatal altercation, following which Gillman-Harris died, he does not represent any danger to her daughter who is her only child. The defense case appears to be drawing to a close and although Nattrass-Bergquist has given evidence and been extensively cross-examined the lawyer for co-accused Wallace-Loretz has told the court his client has elected not to give evidence.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 15th April 2016 - 10:44am

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