Hunter in court over shooting mate
An annual trip to rural Masterton for the first day of duck-hunting season changed forever for a group of old friends when one man shot his mate.
In Manukau District Court this morning, Cameron Alexander Blyth King, 44, pleaded guilty to a charge of careless use of a firearm causing injury.
The 44-year-old victim Guy Meech suffered a gunshot wound to his elbow while hunting with a group in rural Bideford, north of Masterton, the court heard.
He and King had been friends since their primary school days in Hawke's Bay and, with a group of other old mates, had got together on that particular farm on the first day of duck-hunting season every year for the last 12.
On May 3, in a maimai "four times the size of the dock" according to lawyer Paul Borich, King and Meech had their turn to shoot.
As they were retreating to let others take their place they were alerted to the presence of more ducks and resumed their position.
When the birds did not fly over, King prepared to put down his gun but forgot to take off the safety.
It discharged into Meech's arm and he was rushed to Wellington Hospital by helicopter in a serious condition before undergoing surgery.
Though initially there were fears he may lose part of his arm, he was "progressing well" and was preparing to have a titanium plate inserted into it, Borich said.
The court heard the men had consumed alcohol on the day but Borich said it was at the "bottom end of the scale".
Since the incident, King - a father of three living in Papakura - had been down to Hawkes Bay to visit Meech and provided him with $1500 worth of items including firewood and jackets.
"He's very sorry and he realises he should've done things better on the day," Borich said.
As a result of the incident King lost his firearms licence and had indicated he was in no hurry to get it back.
Judge Peter Spiller declined to sentence the gunman today, instead adjourning the matter so a reparations report could be completed.
King will be back in Manukau District Court for sentencing next month.