No charges over fatal stabbing

ROB KIDD
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012
STABBED: David Cunningham was found dead in Ramarama on August 27.
STABBED: David Cunningham was found dead in Ramarama on August 27.
Area where David Cunningham died
PETER MEECHAM/ Fairfax NZ Zoom
Area where David Cunningham died

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A South Aucklander who stabbed a man to death when he ventured onto his property early one morning will not be charged. 

David Cunningham, 40, was found dead at a property in Ramarama, only a few kilometres from his parents' Drury home, in the early hours of August 27 and police say the resident who killed him acted in self defence.

The father-of-one wasn't known to any of the people living at the Ararimu Rd house where his body was found, and no-one knows why he ended up there.

However, police said they were reasonably confident there was no criminal intent.

Cunningham died after an altercation with a person living at the property who confronted him, and yesterday police confirmed that person wouldn't be charged.

"For any criminal charges to be laid, police would need to be satisfied that the property occupier who killed Mr Cunningham was not acting in self defence," Counties Manukau Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said.

"After a review of the recommendations from the Auckland Crown solicitor, police have decided that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with charges. A prosecution in this case does not meet the requirements of the solicitor general guidelines for initiating criminal prosecutions and accordingly no charges will be laid."

The decision not to lay charges was made recently but the announcement was delayed because Cunningham's parents were out of the country.

Lynch said someone had reported seeing Cunningham walking at about 1am the day he died, which helped police put together a timeline of his movements but did little to explain why he ended up at the house where he died.

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said under the Crimes Act, the level of acceptable force someone used to defend themselves depended on the circumstances as they saw them.

The police must have been confident there was a "very real" threat to the occupier if he was not charged, he said.

Examples of police deciding against laying charges when someone had been killed were quite rare, especially in a domestic setting.

Lynch said the decision would be reviewed in the future should any new information be received.

The Cunningham family were "understandably upset" at hearing the news but refused to comment.

The coroner has been notified of the decision.

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- Auckland Now

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