Emotions ran high in the Invercargill High Court today as a 25-year-old man was sentenced for the fatal shooting of his life-long friend.
Blair John Davidson, shepherd, of Waikaka, appeared before Judge Denis Clifford today for failing to take reasonable precautions while in control of a Howa Centrefire .270-calibre rifle, causing the death of Mark Richard Vanderley on April 29.
He was sentenced to two years' and six months' jail.
Judge Clifford said two deer were shot while Davidson and a group of friends were hunting on Glenlappa Station.
The first deer was recovered and a search continued for the second. Mr Vanderley and another person were searching for the wounded deer when people at the truck saw what they thought was another deer and Davidson fired one shot at it, which missed, Judge Clifford said.
The search continued when Davidson told both parties on the hill to stay still as he had seen another deer in the area.
Davidson took another shot, which hit Mr Vanderley in his left cheek. He was killed instantly, he said.
''You shot and killed Mr Vanderley while you were out hunting together ... this is an accident. It is a tragic accident,'' Judge Clifford said.
When the victim impact statements were read out in court by Crown Prosecutor Mary-Jane Thomas, Mr Vanderley's family were visibly upset in court.
After the hearing, Mr Vanderley's family declined to speak to media.
- The Southland Times