Closing arguments delivered in murder trial over Connor Whitehead's death

Both the Crown and defence have delivered their closing arguments in the trial of two men charged with murdering 16-year-old Connor Whitehead.

The teenager was an innocent bystander at a party in the Christchurch suburb of Casebrook when he was fatally shot in November 2021.

It's been described by the Crown as a tragic case, a young man killed at a party by a man he never met.

"No one would have thought a few hours later his life would be taken away," Crown prosecutor Barnaby Hawes said.

Joshua Smith and Daniel Sparks pled not guilty to murdering Connor Whitehead after they turned up at a teenage party with firearms to deal with gatecrashers.

"While one man fired the fatal shot, I suggest both men are criminally responsible for what happened," Hawes said.

The Crown said one shot fired by Smith hit and killed Connor, and a second shot fired by Sparks went off six seconds later.

"You need to consider if Smith is guilty first, he is the principal offender," Hawes said.

"If you find he is guilty of murder, you will need to go on and consider whether Sparks is guilty of murder or manslaughter."

Smith's lawyer said Smith did not intend to shoot and kill Connor.

"He shot a gun foolishly and stupidly without thinking into a place where he thought no one was," lawyer James Rapley said. "He did not know this was likely to cause death."

He set out Smith should be found guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter.

"Connor's death is on his hands, but the fact he caused Connor's death doesn't make him guilty of murder," Rapley said.

Sparks' lawyer Donald Matthews said Sparks did not intend for anyone to die.

"I suggest he had no idea Mr Smith was going to fire the gun," he said.

He also asked the jury to consider Sparks' murder charge.

"The question for you in relation to Mr Sparks is whether he is guilty of murder as a party or alternatively manslaughter as a party."

The jury is expected to retire on Tuesday.