01 August 2005
A 17-year-old Hawke's Bay youth preparing for a hunting trip was
shot in the neck yesterday by a friend who didn't realise the shotgun
was loaded, police say.
The young man was taken to Hastings Hospital with shoulder and neck
injuries and was lucky they were not life-threatening, Senior Sergeant
Tony Dewhirst said.
"Two inches to the right and there could have been tragic
consequences," Mr Dewhirst told NZPA.
"This kind of thing reinforces just how much care people need to
take around firearms."
Police were considering whether to lay charges but Mr Dewhirst said
the shooting was believed to be accidental.
He said the young man and two friends about the same age were in a
rural sleepover hut preparing for a hunting trip when the incident
"It appears that one of the youths pulled the trigger in the belief
that the gun wasn't loaded," Mr Dewhirst said.
"He wasn't playing around or anything, but it shows that you need
to treat all weapons as live at all times."
He believed one of the youths had a gun licence but didn't think
that the person who pulled the trigger was licenced.
"We still have some investigations to do but we are looking at
whether any charges will be laid," Mr Dewhirst said.
"There may be issues as to whether anybody was careless that need
to be looked at and any issues regarding licences and supervision.
"There are circumstances where licence holders can supervise non-licence
holders but we need to investigate exactly what the circumstances were
in this case."
Mr Dewhirst said Hawke's Bay police dealt with a few accidental gun
discharges a year but most were during hunting expeditions.
Two cases involving shootings on hunting trips are currently before
Taupo man Bernard Lee, 50, has pleaded not guilty to careless use
of a firearm causing the death of William Stanley Gillies, 54, during
a deer hunting trip in the Pureroa Forest Park, west of Taupo, in
early April. He is due to appear next in Rotorua District Court on
In the other case, Albert Hurihanganui, 32, has admitted a charge
of careless use of a firearm causing injury after his 10-year-old
nephew Anthony was shot in the stomach after he left a loaded rifle
with his six-year-old son during a pig hunting expedition near Rotorua.
He is due to be sentenced in Rotorua District Court on August 24.