A Mongrel Mob member accused of shooting a senior member of the Dunedin Black Power gang was acquitted yesterday.
Dylan Jordan Hill, 20, was charged with discharging a firearm with reckless disregard for the safety of others and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Pine Hill, Dunedin, on September 25, 2011.
A charge of receiving stolen property, namely a firearm, at Dunedin on May 26, 2011, was withdrawn by the prosecution yesterday.
The Crown had alleged Hill shot Albert Epere, the president of the Dunedin branch of Black Power, in the arm during a confrontation outside a house in Pine Hill, home to a woman with Mongrel Mob connections.
The trial was held in Invercargill District Court before Judge Michael Crosbie and a jury.
In their closing statements yesterday lawyers clashed over the interpretation of the evidence of a key witness.
The witness, the woman with Mongrel Mob connections, gave evidence on Tuesday.
Prosecution lawyer Robin Bates and defence lawyer Anne Stevens said the woman's statement to police after the incident contradicted what she had said in evidence.
Mr Bates said the jury should treat the woman's statement as accurate.
In the statement, she said she had collected her son and two other gang members on the day of the shooting after being threatened by Mr Epere and his gang and she had seen a man called Sneak shoot at Mr Epere who was advancing towards him with a tomahawk.
Taking the stand on Tuesday, the woman had disputed the idea "Sneak" was Hill, said she had been stressed when giving the statement and said none of it could be relied on.
Mr Bates told the jury she had changed her statement to protect Hill. Ms Stevens said the woman's statement on the day of the incident should not be treated as correct and she had been lying to police to protect her son, another patched member of the Mongrel Mob who was at the scene.
Under cross-examination on Tuesday, the woman had said she would do anything, including lie to the court and police, to protect her son, Ms Stevens said.
There was more than reasonable doubt Hill had been the one who shot Mr Epere, Ms Stevens said.
The eyewitnesses had presented a confused picture of events, with some testimony suggesting there was another man - who had a distinctive braided hairstyle, unlike Hill - armed with a gun, she said.
Witnesses had suggested there were shots fired from more than one gun and there was no firm, reliable evidence linking Hill to the alleged weapon, Ms Stevens said.
- The Southland Times