Hunter pleads guilty over shooting death charge

Last updated 11:48 03/11/2010
Rosemary Ives
Rosemary Ives
Andrew Neville David Mears
GUILTY PLEA: Andrew Mears has expressed his deep sorrow over shooting death.

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A man has pleaded guilty to a firearms charge in court this morning in connection to the death of Lower Hutt schoolteacher Rosemary Ives near Turangi on Labour Weekend.

Andrew Neville David Mears, 25, a motor trimmer of Hamilton, pleaded guilty to the careless use of a firearm in Taupo District Court and was remanded on bail until November 18.

Rosemary's father, Malcolm Ives, said today he had no interest in the case.

He and the family were more focused on dealing with the loss of their daughter, he said.

Outside court Mears' lawyer Roger Laybourne read a statement from Mears to the victim's family.

In it Mears said he wanted to convey "my absolute sorrow and remorse for being the person responsible for taking the life of Rosemary".

"I am sorry for the dreadful loss I have caused to you all."

Immediately after the shooting Mears said he handed all his hunting gear to his wife to take away.

"I do not want to ever have anything to do with hunting again.

"Nor do I want my infant son to."

Mr Laybourne said Mears had not intended to go hunting that night after arriving with friends to set up camp.

However, his friends had seen deer on the roadside and woken him from his tent to go searching for the animals.

Mr Laybourne said this spontaneous decision to go hunting was not to be seen as an excuse for what had happened.

Meanwhile, the Crown is considering more serious charges.

The fatal shot was believed to have been fired from a distance of 15-26 metres with a Remington .243, after Mears mistook the headlamp of the victim for the eyes of a possum.

Police have referred the charge to the Crown Law office in Rotorua to review the circumstances of the incident and charge.

Detective Sergeant Todd Pearce said the review would include whether a more serious charge can be laid.

The charge of careless use of a firearm is historically referred for most hunting-related deaths, Mr Pearce said.

However, the circumstances surrounding Ms Ives' death differ from other hunting deaths police have previously dealt with and it is appropriate the charge be reviewed by the Crown, he said.

Ms Ives, 25, was fatally shot through the head while she was brushing her teeth with her boyfriend, Adam Hyndman at the Kaimanawa Road campsite on Friday October 22.

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It is alleged Mears was illegally spotlighting from a moving vehicle when he fired the fatal shot.

Mr Hyndman and Taupo MP Louise Upton tried unsuccessfully to revive Ms Ives using CPR for 40 minutes until ambulance staff arrived at the campsite, 15 kilometres south of Turangi.

Ms Ives and Mr Hyndman had been camping next to four trampers from Wellington and four backpackers from the Czech Republic.

One of the Czech backpackers heard the shot and rang police.

- with Stuff

- The Dominion Post

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