Coroner rules on Dudley’s death

The Coroner has ruled that the assault on schoolboy Stephen Dudley was the most significant factor in his death. It had already been found that Dudley also had an undiagnosed heart condition that was also a factor.

NZ Herald: Exclusive: Fatal assault – Stephen Dudley’s family want manslaughter prosecution after inquest findings

The family of a schoolboy who died after a violent assault at rugby training is calling for a manslaughter charge to be laid after the Coroner ruled the actions of another teen was “the most significant factor” in his death.

Stephen Eruwera Dudley died on June 6, 2013 after he was punched repeatedly by two teenage brothers at a West Auckland rugby field.


  • Stephen Dudley died after a an assault at rugby practice in 2013
  • Two teens were charged with manslaughter
  • The charge was lessened to assault after an undiagnosed heart condition was revealed
  • Coroner Gordon Matenga said one of the teen’s punches directly led to Stephen’s death
  • The Dudley family are calling for new charges following the Coroner’s findings

The brothers were initially charged with manslaughter.

But after medical examinations revealed an undiagnosed heart condition, the Crown withdrew the charge – saying it could not be determined whether the assault contributed to Stephen’s death.

In 2014 the brothers pleaded guilty to assaulting Stephen and were discharged without conviction and granted name permanent suppression.

Last year, just after third anniversary of Stephen’s death Coroner Gordon Matenga held an inquest.

Today he released his report, and found that while Stephen may have had an underlying heart condition, his death was the direct result of “stress associated with physical assault”.

Even though Dudley had a problem with his heart he would have lived longer if he hadn’t been attacked and beaten.

There has to be consequences for those who viscously attack others unprovoked, especially if the victim dies.

A clear legal message has to be strongly made that thuggery is both unacceptable and potentially very dangerous.

Brent Dudley said his son was seen by witnesses laughing and joking as he left rugby practice.

It wasn’t until he was “coward punched” that his health fatally deteriorated.

“We are happy that the Coroner saw it the same way that we do.”

The couple said they “strongly believe” the teenager who delivered the fatal blow needed to be held to account.

“We feel, strongly, that he has a case to answer,” Brent Dudley said.

I agree.

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  1. Corky

     /  18th May 2017

    This case really gets to me. Maybe it’s because I hate bullies. It’s one reason I have zero tolerance for people who go into bat for Maori and Polynesians.This case, apart from the death, isn’t an aberration in these societies, it’s the norm.

    And when I see the heart broken parents, that’s hard to take. I’m very surprised the perpetrators are still alive…more the pity. They are worthless in my opinion.

    It’s also been reported no one knew how to do CPR. That needs to be rectified.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  18th May 2017

      They should have been convicted and should not have name suppression. Another gross miscarriage of justice.

  2. Bill Brown

     /  18th May 2017

    Guess Lauda Finem got this right

    • This was the findings of the coroner Gordon Matenga are due process of an inquest.

      LF get some things right and they get a lot wrong, much of it maliciously wrong unless they are so ignorant they chance on being correct occasionally.

      With their reputation they can’t be taken seriously.

      • Bill Brown

         /  18th May 2017

        Those 2 boys need to now be charged with murder

        • I doubt whether murder is a goer, that would require proof of intent. But manslaughter should be revisited if it can be. Don’t people get charge with manslaughter for making a mistake driving a car? This has to be worse.

          • Bill Brown

             /  18th May 2017

            I bet the Judge is sitting at home tonight wishing she had not need in charge


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