Man found not guilty of shooting computer

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 17:59 14/06/2013
Geoffrey John Buckley
IN COURT: Geoffrey John Buckley

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A man has been found not guilty of pointing a loaded gun at an 8-year-old and shooting the computer he refused to get off.

Geoffrey John Buckley, 35, has been cleared of two charges of recklessly discharging a firearm and a charge of recklessly firing an airgun in front of his partner and her children between February 2007 and August 2008.

The boy first made the allegations to Child Youth and Family in 2010. He repeated the allegations in a police interview last year.

A jury took less than two hours to deliver a not guilty verdict to the Napier District Court today.

The crown alleged that Buckley threatened to shoot the boy if he didn't stop playing games on the computer and come and have his dinner.

Crown prosecutor Josh Lucas said the boy backed away from the gun, but Buckley still fired in front of him, his mother and younger brother. The bullet smashed the computer monitor and broke a nearby window.

Buckley, of central Hawke's Bay, said his ex-partner made the allegations so she could get custody of her youngest son. Buckley is the father of the 6-year-old boy.

Buckley was also charged with shooting the mother in the leg with an airgun, permanently scarring her. It was also alleged a bullet narrowly missed her head, on a separate occasion, when Buckley shot a rifle in their bedroom. He was found not guilty on both these charges.

Buckley told the court he never fired at his partner, aimed a gun at her son, or shot the computer.

He insisted his ex-partner made it up and got her son to back up the story. However he agreed under cross-examination  the woman struggled to control her son who would become violent when he did not get his own way.

Lucas suggested Buckley was sick and tired that his partner couldn't control her son's violent outbursts so he got a shot gun from the cabinet, loaded it and shot the computer.

Lucas said firing a gun once may be an accident but firing it three times was intended to keep his partner and her children in line.

"He fired those guns in a misguided power play in an effort to scare and intimidate."

Lucas said the woman could have made up anything if she wanted to gain custody of her youngest son, not a "weird and unusual" story about a man shooting a computer.

Lawyer Roger Philip said Buckley never brought firearms inside the house and the events did not happen.

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Philip said there was no evidence of damage to the house, no tradesmen were called to repair the alleged damage and no complaints were made at the time of the incidents. Police never recovered a damaged computer.

Philip questioned the reliability of the witnesses because of inconsistencies in their evidence.

"When two witnesses are at odds about events that's when doubt arises. There's insufficient evidence for you to be sure."

Outside of court, Buckley said he was "stoked". He had faith the jury would find in his favour.

"It's been a long week."

After having a celebratory drink he planned to "get on with his life".

Buckley wanted to enrol in a dairy farming course at Eastern Institute of Technology.

- The Dominion Post

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