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Family Owed Explanation

Family Owed Explanation

David Garrett MP, ACT New Zealand
Friday, May 29 2009

ACT New Zealand Law & Order Spokesman David Garrett today expressed his concern following the announcement that no one will be facing charges over the police shooting of innocent bystander Halatau Naitoko - following a motorway chase in January.

"While not charging the officer concerned with manslaughter is probably justifiable, it seems incomprehensible that the officer is not facing charges under the Arms Act for failing to properly identify his target," Mr Garrett said.

"There are only two explanations as to how this tragic situation arose: either the bullet ricocheted and killed Mr Naitoko, or the officer aimed at and shot the wrong person by mistake. If the explanation is the latter then it is difficult to justify the announcement not to prosecute.

"In a country where hunting remains a popular pastime, target misidentification unfortunately has frequently resulted in many deaths - often the death of one friend at the hands of another. Regardless of the tragedy of such a situation in most cases - a prosecution goes ahead, and more often than not results in a conviction.

"So what happened to one law for all? Are there different laws for police using firearms? Why should hunters be held to a higher standard of care than the police? If there is any justification for different standards being applied, surely it is armed policemen who should be required to meet a higher standard of care?

"In this case the bare blithe announcement that there will be no prosecution is simply not good enough. Rather than leaving the family in limbo waiting for the outcome of an IPCA enquiry and Inquest, the police owe the family an explanation," Mr Garrett said.

ENDS

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