Teenager Haami Hanara sentenced to life imprisonment for Flaxmere murder

Haami Hanara
Haami Hanara, 15, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Kelly Donner. Photo credit: Newshub.

A 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to life imprisonment for stabbing a man to death outside a bar in Hawke's Bay.

Haami Hanara appeared before Justice Peter Churchman at the Napier High Court on Tuesday morning charged with the murder of Kelly Donner.

On March 4 2018, Hanara and a group of his friends entered an enclosed area behind the Flax Bar and Eatery in Flaxmere with the intention of stealing alcohol from the tavern.

There they found Mr Donner, a 40-year-old homeless man who was well-known to the Flaxmere community.

An altercation ensued after the teenagers, all aged between 14 and 16, took Mr Donner's torch and wouldn't give it back. Bottles were thrown by both parties and the fight ended up spilling out of the yard, CCTV footage shows.

The Crown says it was at this moment that Hanara stabbed Mr Donner four times - twice in his neck and once each in his shoulder and chest. The group of youths continued to beat and kick the man as he lay on the ground.

Hanara was just 14 at the time.

A member of the public found Mr Donner unresponsive outside the tavern at about 10:30pm, and he was unable to be revived. A homicide investigation was launched soon after.

It would be more than a month until Hanara was arrested after being found hiding in a shed in Whanganui on April 6.

Hanara pleaded not guilty to Mr Donner's murder, and his lawyer Eric Forster said the teenager's tough background and diminished intellect were exceptional circumstances and warranted a lighter sentence.

In November a High Court jury found Hanara guilty of Mr Donner's murder, and on February 5 he was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non parole period of 10 years.

Mr Forster told Newshub he would be discussing the possibility of an appeal with Hanara and his family.

"I'll sit down with his Haami and significant others and decide where to from here," he says.


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