No inquest for shot hunter

00:01, Aug 12 2014
Wayne Edgerton
CONVICTED: Wayne Edgerton was sentenced to seven months' home detention.

The coroner will not open an inquiry into the death of a man shot by a fellow hunter after being mistaken for a deer.

Adam Hill, a 25-year-old famer from Southland, was hunting in Longwood Forest in April when Wayne Edgerton shot him in the chest.

Edgerton, who was not a member of Hill's party, plead guilty to a charge of causing death by careless use of a firearm in the Invercargill District Court in June.

Adam Hill
PROUD DAD: Adam Hill, pictured with daughter Maikayla, 4, had moved into a farmhouse with his family a year before being fatally shot while hunting.

Coroner Johnson said the causes and circumstances surrounding Hill's death had been dealt with by the court and she felt no need to open an inquiry.

Firearm safety recommendations in the New Zealand Police Arms Code were sufficient and she had no further recommendations to make, the coroner said.

At the hearing, Judge Turner said Edgerton had "ample time" to properly identify Hill before firing.

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"This raises the possibility that your desire to shoot a deer overwhelmed your need for safety," Turner said. "Your level of carelessness was at the highest end of the scale."

Edgerton told police he mistook Hill for the hindquarters of a red deer. However, Judge Turner found Edgerton's assertion "difficult to reconcile with the facts".

"Mr Hill was shot in the chest. His backpack would not have obscured his front," Turner said. "But even if you could only see part of Mr Hill, what you saw in no way resembled the whole of a deer."

Edgerton was convicted and sentenced to home detention for seven month, and community work. He was also ordered to pay $10,000 reparation.

The Southland Times