Case of mistaken identity led to shotgun shooting
Fears for safety, a case of mistaken identity and driving slowly down a street to find a friend to have coffee with all contributed to a Feilding man having his car blasted by a shotgun.
Those revelations were made in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday after Hayden Tui Te Oka, 28, pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm with intent to cause grevious bodily harm to Lester Stantiall.
According to a police summary of facts, Stantiall was driving his Subaru WRX along Makino Rd about 9pm on August 9. He was driving slowly with the window down, looking at the letterbox numbers as he was going to meet a friend for coffee.
He kept driving at the same speed when he realised he had gone too far, as he wanted to find a safe place to turn around.
Little did he know, he was about to drive past Te Oka's house.
Te Oka was sitting in his shed, armed with a shotgun.
He saw Stantiall's car and fired one round at it, hitting the car door and the sole occupant's hand.
Stantiall first thought something was wrong with his car, before realising he had been shot.
He went to his girlfriend's house and then to Palmerston North Hospital, while Te Oka left his house still armed with the shotgun.
When caught by police, he told them he was upset and angry due to multiple events in the previous few days, including his brother's girlfriend being allegedly assaulted and robbed.
That alleged incident has not been reported to police.
He armed himself with the shotgun because he was afraid the people who apparently carried out the assault and robbery were going to his house, and he thought Stantiall was one of them.
He told police he was sorry he shot someone unrelated to the other matters.
Judge Les Atkins convicted Te Oka and remanded him until October for sentencing.
He also gave Te Oka his first three-strikes warning.
If Te Oka is convicted for qualifying violent offences again and sentenced to imprisonment, he must serve the sentence without parole or early release.
The judge told Te Oka he had to be careful when thinking about offending now, as the stakes had been greatly raised.
Stantiall told the Manawatu Standard yeseterday he accepted Te Oka's apology, but it did not excuse the shooter's actions.
"You just don't pull out a gun on a random person.
"I could have had kids, or my missus with her kid, in the car.
"It could have been a lot worse."
Stantiall said he also wondered if Te Oka would have to pay for the damage the shotgun blast did to his car.
His hand was healing slowly, but well.
"The stitches are coming out in the next couple of days."
However, another round of surgery was likely as pieces of shotgun pellets were still in one of his fingers, he said.