Homekill accident an Olympic hurdle
A butcher who accidentally shot his young assistant with a rifle has pleaded guilty to an arms charge but is praying he will be discharged so his Olympic dream can survive.
And supporting him is his victim Simon Alex, 18, who medically died twice after the powerful .303 bullet ripped into his body.
Butcher Bruce Scott was with Alex on a Kumeu farm on March 15 as they prepared to slaughter two wild cows.
Alex was hit in the chest by a bullet and while he underwent a dramatic series of medical treatments to survive, he is back working at Scott's side.
Scott was charged with careless use of a firearm and yesterday pleaded guilty in the Waitakere District Court.
A conviction has yet to be entered as Scott disputes the police facts which will be contested at a hearing on November 14.
He is seeking a discharge without conviction so he can chase his dream of competing in shooting at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
"If I get a conviction, that will squash that."
Scott today said that Alex accepted the shooting was an accident.
"He is back at work, we are good family friends," he said.
"He did an affidavit last week, and he did not want to see me get a conviction, he is dead against it. He knows it will impact on our business, my staff and my prospects."
What happened was an accident, Scott said, and was the first he'd had in 18 years of homekills.
"It was a freak accident," he said.
"The local community has been fantastic. Most people in the community understand the homekill industry, they understand you don't have built up yards."
At yesterday's hearing Judge Heemi Taumaunu said the law required a person in Scott's position to know and check where their assistant was before firing in circumstances where there was a risk they could be hit by a bullet.
"Mr Scott fired in (Alex's) general direction - and that's it in a nutshell. He did not clearly identify where the victim was when he took the shot."
Earlier this year Alex revealed how his injuries from the shooting had been so severe he needed 20 litres of blood (the body typically contains five litres) and doctors were forced to open his chest to stem the bleeding in the emergency department of Auckland City Hospital - something doctors say happens just a couple of times a year.
Surgeon Li Hsee said Alex was the most critically injured patient he has seen, and gave him a five per cent chance of survival - odds the teenager beat in what rescuers have described as a true miracle.
During the shooting, Alex lay on his stomach 30m away, over a fence and beside a shed.
"I was just getting myself amped ready to go out there and get it all done," he said.
The first shot rang out as normal and Alex was poised for the second.
When the rifle went off a second time he felt a thud, looked down and saw the blood spray. With an initial pain-free calm, he realised what had happened.
"I felt a funny bit of a push in my shoulder, looked down and I thought 'I've been hit'. I stood up and I went 'I've been shot'."
The bullet ripped through the main arteries running from his heart to his left arm, pierced a rib and struck his lungs, causing them to collapse.
The bullet came to a stop in his chest around 20cm below the entry wound.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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