Home detention, and a life sentence of guilt

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 11:28 14/05/2012
SENTENCED: Reuben Burke during sentencing for careless use of a firearm causing the death of his best friend, Dougal Fyfe, in the Queenstown District Court.
Grant Bryant
SENTENCED: Reuben Burke during sentencing for careless use of a firearm causing the death of his best friend, Dougal Fyfe, in the Queenstown District Court.

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A Wanaka man who killed his best mate with a shot he believed would drop an already wounded stag was today sentenced to seven months home detention.

Additionally Reuben Kenneth James Burke, 25, had his firearms licence revoked, the laser sighted .22 Ruger rifle which the fatal shot was fired from forfeited to the Crown, and 300 hours community work added to his sentence.

Burke, the victim Dougal Fyfe and another man went eeling, then rabbit shooting after a Christmas barbecue on December 18.

They did not intend to go after deer, but when one was spotted, wounded, then ran into a thick stand of manuka, Burke and Fyfe followed.

An amount of $10,000, which Burke had made available to the Fyfe family today was ordered by Judge Kevin Phillips to be paid immediately as an emotional harm reparation.

No matter the sentence he imposed, Burke "would sentence himself every morning for the rest of his life," Judge Phillips said.

The families of both men were in attendance, and the raw emotion each was going through plainly evident.

After sentencing, Dougal's father Grant released a short statement, saying "this is a very sad time for everyone involved and we miss our Dougal very much."

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- The Southland Times

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