Guilty of attempted murder

The man who police shot and tasered in Porirua last year has been found to have cut the throat of a pregnant woman and smashed the elbow of another woman.

In the High Court at Wellington this evening Ruka Te Pono Hemopo, also known as Duane Makatea, 48, was found guilty of attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He was found not guilty of threatening to kill the women.

The charges arose from an incident at a house at Waitangirua, Porirua, on May 2 last year.

Hemopo is in custody pending sentencing in October. The Crown has asked for mental health reports to be prepared but Hemopo told Justice Stephen Kos that he would not talk to psychiatrists.

Earlier today Crown prosecutor Grant Burston told the jury that Hemopo had a knife in his hand and was going to stab a woman when he was shot.

But Hemopo, who defended himself at his trial, denied that.

"I have always said I was not attacking anyone, I didn't have the knife in my hand and therefore I say all the charges should be dropped."

He had his hand up to stop himself from falling on the woman who was on the floor.

"I wasn't trying to stab her, that's a load of crap."

Hemopo had pleaded not guilty to five charges including attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The identities of the women, and some of the evidence, was suppressed.

Hemopo made his final address to the jury of eight women and four men.

He said he had been painted as a woman beater and a baby killer who attacked women with a knife.

He had not done that even with a man and the allegation was just insulting, he told the jury.

He said he had been in jail waiting for his trial for 15 months and had to rely heavily upon other people to help him.

There were other things he had wanted to present at the trial but it would have meant having to give evidence and other things could have gone against him, he said.

Burston said Hemopo had been upset because he thought he was being excluded from plans for a group to travel to a tangi.

The day of the tangi he woke early and went looking for a cigarette.

One of the woman "back-chatted" him and that set him off, Burston said.

Refusing to give him the cigarette he needed and being smart about it flipped him over the edge and he went to get the hammer.

The elbow of one of the women was smashed as she put her arm up to protect her head. Her shoulder was also injured.

"I'm going to kill yous, I'm going to kill yous, none of us is leaving here," he allegedly said.

The jury heard a police officer's description of the woman crawling across the floor and hanging on to the officer's leg after Hempop was shot in the shoulder.

She was "moaning like an animal" because she thought she was going to be killed.

The jury has been told that Hemopo and the pregnant woman were both in hospital overnight and the woman with the elbow and shoulder injuries spent two days in hospital.

Hemopo said the Crown's theory of how the incident had begun was wrong.

There was no tension with Hemopo being left out of plans to go to a tangi. He said he had his own plans to get his car which had been impounded, and drive himself and one of the women to the tangi.

The two women had been drinking and one of them had a history of getting angry when she had been drinking, he said.

"I went to get the knife off her, I did, but then she got the knife back and I thought, "bugger you, have it then."

He had asked the jury to go through the transcript of the evidence and see if they could see what he could see.

"I just want you to consider everything I have said and look in to it and give me a fair deal," he said.

The Dominion Post