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Harris family: Relief and sadness after verdict

Thu 28 Apr 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Ihaia Gillman-Harris Ihaia Gillman-Harris's family are greatly relieved at the murder verdict delivered by the high court jury after the lengthy High Court trial of two young men for his murder. Gillman-Harris died hours after a violent assault in an Epsom, Auckland, motel in December 2014. Beauen Wallace-Loretz and Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist, both 17 at the time, have been found guilty of murder and two associated charges of aggravated robbery and theft of a car. Sharon Harris, a younger sister of the victim and who shares the same birthday as Gillman-Harris, says the verdict was received "with sadness" amongst the family, "...not so much 'yay!'... just sadness as we have been ringing around between ourselves." She says some of the relief comes from knowing that the jury "saw what we saw in court, they heard what we heard and were able to see through the evidence and see the truth about how he died at the end." But she says she has some sympathy for the families of the two accused in the lead-up to the verdict. "We wanted what we wanted and they wanted what they wanted... and there was only one family that was going to walk away with a good result." The Harris family of several generations were a strong presence in court throughout the almost three-week-long trial. One brother now living in Australia returned to Auckland for every court appearance of each of the accused in the long lead-up to the trial. "It was an individual choice," says Harris, "but at the end, for the trial, it became something sort of agreed amongst all of us brothers and sisters that we were going to show numbers in support for Ihaia... and it was good for us because we're all such busy people and come from different towns and countries but we united in support for our brother."    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 28th April 2016 - 9:15am

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