Shot, tasered man slits own throat, court hears
A man was shot and tasered by police after slitting the throat of a pregnant woman and attacking another woman with a hammer, a Wellington jury has been told.
Ruka Te Pono Hemopo, 48, had cut his own throat as well as one of the women, and was continuing his attack on her when two police officers arrived and virtually simultaneously shot and tasered him, the jury in the High Court at Wellington was told today.
Crown prosecutor Grant Burston said Hemopo later told police that the woman had cut his throat.
The wounds of both had bled heavily, Burston said. The woman was 20 weeks pregnant and needed 15 stitches in the cut to her throat. The Crown alleges Hemopo was attempting to murder the woman.
Another woman who had been attacked with a hammer had managed to escape from the house and call police, it is alleged.
The claw part of the hammer caused a large wound on her arm and fractured her elbow. Her shoulder blade was also fractured and her spine injured.
Hemopo survived being shot and his throat injury, and was discharged from hospital the following day.
His trial began today. He is representing himself but a lawyer has been appointed a "friend of the court" to assist.
In a brief statement to jurors he asked them to listen carefully in the evidence, keep an open mind and not prejudge him.
He said the two women were not telling the truth and he did not deliberately hurt either of them. The circumstances were not as alleged, he said.
Hemopo pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and a less serious alternative of wounding with intent to injure, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and two charges of threatening to kill. All result from an incident at a Porirua house early on May 2, last year.
The names of the victims are suppressed.
The trial before a jury of eight women and four men is expected to take more than a week.
The Dominion Post