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Halatau Naitoko shooting a tragic accident

Halatau Naitoko shooting a tragic accident

Coroner Gordon Matenga concluded the shooting of Halatau Naitoko on Auckland's Northwestern motorway on 23rd January 2009 was a tragic accident.

"Police deeply and sincerely regret the accidental shooting of Mr Naitoko and our sympathies are with the family," said Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham.

The Coroner said that New Zealand is well served by its Police. With the right to use firearms in the execution of police duty, comes the responsibility. It is right that the use of such power comes under public scrutiny as provided by the Coroners Court.

The Coroner in his report released today found that: "Even though the Police actions are justified, accidents can still happen, with tragic consequences. A number of lessons have been learned from this sad event."

He said the purpose of his report is to review the circumstances of this death with a view to avoiding such tragic outcomes in the future.

Mr Boreham said this was a difficult situation to manage on a number of levels.

"Police were dealing with an armed, mobile, unpredictable, drug fuelled offender who had threatened several members of the public and police with a firearm and had further shot at police officers and at the Police Eagle helicopter. There was a very real threat to public safety.

"The police officers put themselves in the line of fire to stop Stephen McDonald."

Mr Boreham said the officers who were involved in the capture of Stephen McDonald acted with courage and determination but are devastated by the death of Mr Naitoko.

ENDS

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