Son speaks out over manslaughter charge

  • 07/08/2016
Brendon Bell
Brendon Bell

If coping with the tragic death of his father after a night of excessive drinking wasn't hard enough, 25-year-old Brendon Bell also had to deal with being charged for his father's death.

The building apprentice spoke to TV3's Māori current affairs show The Hui for the first time about the events leading up to the death of his Dad, Reginald 'Manny' Bell in 2014.

"If dad knew that this would've happened, I don't think he'd drink again," Brendon says about the drunken fight that put his 52-year-old Dad into a coma. 

Manny would die from complications of a brain haemorrhage two weeks later.

Brendon, then just 22-years-old, faced a charge of manslaughter for his father's death, but this was later amended to an assault charge. 

CCTV footage taken of the drunken fight at a Waitara petrol station showed that Brendon acted in self-defence. But he still faced an assault charge - which carries a maximum one-year jail term.

"I saw the pain on my mum's face when they read me the penalties," Brendon said tearfully.

His mother, Sandy Watt, couldn't believe her son would be facing serious charges after just losing his Dad.

"It's not fair, he had too much going for him.  He's not a bad kid, he's never been in trouble with the law," she said.

Brendon got through this ordeal with the support of friends and whanau, including his Uncle Doug Bell, who gave moving testimony in court speaking on behalf of his younger brother Manny.

"I am standing here to honour my brother's wishes. Let my boy go, give him back his future," Doug said.

Brendon is trying to rebuild his life, but is still paying off his legal aid bills. He still owes around $7,000.

"I think pretty much the whole process of everything wasn't fair. I don't like it, but I'm dealing with it," Brendon says.