Car park killer may appeal verdict

17:00, Jul 19 2012
Christopher Shadrock
GUILTY: Christopher Shadrock.

A lawyer for a man twice convicted of the same murder has not ruled out appealing the decision again.

After a second trial and 12 more hours of jury deliberations convicted murderer Christopher Shadrock is back where he started - facing a life sentence in prison.

Shadrock, 25, was yesterday convicted by a second jury in the High Court at Auckland of the murder of Joanne Wang in June 2008, in a handbag snatch that went horribly wrong.

The Court of Appeal quashed Shadrock's initial conviction in August 2011, ruling the jury was not properly directed on the law relating to murder while committing another criminal act.

A second trial began in June this year, taking six weeks from start to finish.

After the jury delivered its guilty verdict, Justice Timothy Brewer reinstated a term of life imprisonment with a 12-year minimum non-parole period handed down by Justice Rodney Hansen after the first trial.

Outside court yesterday, Shadrock's lawyer Christopher Wilkinson-Smith did not rule out another appeal in the case.

He said Shadrock has a month to think about whether he wants to contest the conviction a second time.

Wilkinson-Smith said even lawyers have trouble getting their minds around the complex issues involved in the case, and he was sure juries also struggle with it.

Even if Shadrock had been found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, which was also an option for the jury, it might not have made a large difference to Shadrock's sentence, the lawyer said.

Shadrock, then 23, ran down Wang in a stolen Nissan four-wheel drive, after snatching her handbag in the Manukau Westfield car park.

He did not expect her to chase him or fight back, and she held on to the front of the stolen four-wheel-drive he was trying to get away in.

Crown lawyer Kevin Glubb said Shadrock drove into her in his desperation to get away, knowing that she might die.

But Wilkinson-Smith argued he was so distracted by thinking about what might be in the handbag and he could not have had time to formulate "murderous intent" towards Wang before running her over.

He said Shadrock was a young man and he did not appreciate the risks of running into Wang in a four-wheel drive.

The car was being driven at under 20kmph, and it is unlikely even four-wheel drives driven at that speed would kill someone if they were hit.

Wilkinson-Smith told the jury Shadrock had told police: "in my heart I know I didn't mean to kill her."

The death shattered the lives of the Wang family, who gave victim impact statements at his first sentencing.

The effect on her 10-year-old son Edmund, who witnessed the tragedy, was especially profound.

"The whole horrific tragedy happened in front of him... he had never left her side for a day of his life," Wang's husband, Jialin Wang wrote.

"My heart is broken forever by your moment of stupidity and greed."

Four of Shadrock's friends - Maka Tuikolovatu, Vila Lemanu, Lionel Tekanawa and Terence Tere - were yesterday found guilty of being accessories after the fact, helping him dispose of evidence despite knowing he was a wanted man.

Tuikolovatu, Lemanu and Tekanawa were sentenced to prison terms of 18 months, 3 years and 2 years respectively.

Tere was given 6 months' home detention, but as he had already served his sentence he was released straight away.

Shadrock's family appeared shocked by the guilty verdict, weeping quiet tears in the back of the courtroom.

After his sentence was handed down, Shadrock turned around to the public gallery and pressed his hand to the glass separating him from his young daughter.

Security guards had to gently lead him away.


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