The parents of a former Christchurch Casino croupier who died after a fight outside a Sydney bar are relieved the long court ordeal to get justice is finally over.
On Wednesday, a Sydney jury comeback with a verdict Russell and Bev Birss of Harewood had been waiting months to hear: The man accused of their son, Shane Birss', death was guilty of manslaughter.
"It was an emotional time. We hugged each other," Russell Birss told The Star from Sydney.
"We were hopeful it would go that way, but until that final announcement is made and the final day arrives you don't know what is going on."
The Sydney man found guilty of manslaughter, Clint Hopley, will be sentenced on February 16 ? the same day Shane Birss should have been celebrating his 33rd birthday.
It was the second time a court had tried Hopley for the death.
In August, a jury failed to come to a decision, and a new trial was ordered, putting huge strain on the Birss's. Shane Birss, died in January 2005 after hitting his head on the ground after being punched twice by Hopley.
He had been celebrating a friend's birthday at a Sydney bar on January 16, 2005, when a woman in his group became unhappy with a man dancing too close.
The woman called for some support and there was a heated exchange between the group Shane Birss was part of and friends of the man who had been dancing near her.
The argument ended without incident, but flared up again later in the evening outside the bar.
Shane Birss had earlier left the bar. As he returned to rejoin his friends he was seen by the group involved in the earlier altercation.
The group included Hopley who punched him twice. Shane Birss fell and hit his head on the ground.
He suffered a cracked skull and a blood clot to the brain. His family turned off his life support two days after the incident.
Hopley's defence barrister Stephen Hanley claimed he had been acting in self defence.
Shane Birss had been working as a security guard in Sydney and had applied to join the New South Wales police.
This week the jury at the Sydney District Court deliberated for two days before reaching its verdict.
Russell Birss said the process had been emotionally exhausting for him, his wife and Shane's younger brother Aaron.
The family were thankful the verdict had brought some closure to the tragedy. The family all hoped to back in court when the sentencing was passed.
"We can hopefully try to get on with our normal lives. Obviously you never forget. We will never forget Shane but now we know what is coming next," Russell Birss said about the sentencing in February.
He will prepare a victim impact statement which will be read out at the sentencing.
"It will cover the things we are missing out on with losing Shane. That's quite difficult ? writing all about him. He was a wonderful guy, he had a lot going for him."