A Blenheim man accidentally shot another man in the leg while trying to prevent him from getting hold of his gun, police say.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Mark Harris told the Blenheim District Court on Monday that the victim suffered a badly broken leg in the Boxing Day incident.
In court, Paul Shane Eden, 47, admitted charges of illegal possession of a rifle and careless use of the rifle causing injury and was sentenced to 80 hours' community work.
Mr Harris said Eden was house-sitting at a rural home on Redwood Pass Rd and his role included using a gun the owners had given him for pest control, stopping animals, including wild cats and ferrets, from attacking other animals on the property.
Eden lost his firearms licence in 2006, but the owners did not know that, Mr Harris said.
On Christmas Day some friends went to visit Eden at the house and he agreed to let them stay the night.
Early on Boxing Day morning Eden heard a disturbance and got the gun thinking something was happening to the animals.
When he got out onto the porch the victim was there and became interested in the gun and tried to take a closer look, Mr Harris said.
Eden was reluctant to let the man see it and was pulling it away from him when he accidentally fired it into the man's leg.
Defence lawyer Rennie Gould said the victim had accepted that the shooting was an accident, as did the police.
Eden had been trying to do the right thing, but accepted he should not have had the gun in the first place and there could have been more serious consequences, she said.
The homeowners were at court supporting Eden and Mrs Gould said he had been house-sitting for them for eight years.
Eden had been very upset by the incident, she said.
- The Marlborough Express