King Cobra patch earned by murder

Last updated 16:24 26/05/2014
King Cobra accused
Peter Meecham/FAIRFAX

CHARGED: Sitting in the dock at the Auckland High Court; Caleb Afamasaga, Sosaia Laloni, Edgar Laloni, Kevin Banaba, and Joshua Makalima. They are all facing a murder charge resulting from a shooting in Ranui. King Cobra Gang.

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An Auckland man who shot a rival gang member through the heart earned his patch by committing the murder, the Crown says.

Caleb Eli Afamasaga, 25, Kevin Terrence Banaba, 25, and Joshua Makalima, 24 are charged with murdering Daniel Turner and wounding Jasen Mataio in December 2012.

Afamasaga faces an additional charge of threatening to kill.

Also on trial in the High Court in Auckland are Edgar Laloni, 24, and Sosaia Laloni, 23, who are accused of acting as accessories to murder.

Crown prosecutor Anna Longdill told the jury the five men were members of the King Cobras and a feud had developed with the two victims after they attacked the Laloni brothers on December 15.

Afamasaga was the shooter, she said, but over the next three days Banaba and Makalima "aided, abetted, incited and counselled" him, providing him with a rifle and encouraging him to use it.

Late on December 18, Turner - known as "Big D" - and his friend Mataio approached a house in Afton Place in Ranui.

Afamasaga was waiting and shot at them from a bedroom window.

Turner was shot through the heart and died soon afterwards. Mataio took a bullet in his right calf as he tried to run away.

"He felt no hesitation in shooting to kill Daniel Turner ... as a result Mr Afamasaga earned his patch," Longdill said.

It is alleged the shooter and Sosaia Laloni then hurdled fences to escape the scene, hiding the rifle under a Fijian flag at a neighbouring property, where police eventually found it.

The pair were picked up by Edgar Laloni who took them to a house in Glendene.

After that, all five accused continued to keep in regular contact and took steps to co-ordinate their movements, Longdill said.

Nearly a week after the shooting the Laloni brothers handed themselves in to police at the request of Banaba, who the Crown alleged was the "director" of the operation.

Longdill said the Crown would rely heavily on text messages exchanged before and after the incident, which took the police 440 hours to collate.

Afamasaga's lawyer, Maria Pecotic, said there was no dispute her client was the gunman, "but the circumstances surrounding how the injuries occurred are very much in dispute".

"He acted in self- defence," Pecotic said.

"He did not intend to kill Mr Turner. He was protecting himself and the others who were in the house. He was genuinely fearful for his life," she said.

The trial in front of Justice Mark Woolford is expected to last up to seven weeks.

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