Shotgun fired at tree 'probably stolen'

The shotgun fired four times in a Christchurch public park on Sunday night was probably stolen, the 20-year-old who admits firing the blasts says.

Joshua Ngatiki Ngarimu pleaded guilty to two charges in the Christchurch District Court today. He has been in custody since his arrest soon after the gun was fired.

Two other men were arrested at the same time by armed police in Pages Rd. One of those men has been released on bail and the other will remain in custody until next week.

Police say Ngarimu fired the shotgun four times at a tree about 10pm at New Brighton's Rawhiti Domain - a domain that has many entrances and is open to the public 24 hours a day.

He pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful possession of the weapon and firing it with reckless disregard for people's safety.

Prosecutor Sergeant Glenn Pascoe said the police received complaints about the blasts in the park, and a dog handler saw a man with a shotgun near Keyes Rd. The man had left in a vehicle carrying two others before other police arrived.

When armed police stopped the car in Pages Rd, Ngarimu was in the front passenger seat and the shotgun was in the middle of the back seat, wrapped in material.

Nine shotgun cartridges were found in the rear pocket of the passenger seat, including some of a type not usually used for game hunting in New Zealand.

Ngarimu told police the gun belonged to him but was "probably stolen". He said he was on the way to see someone about selling it.

Judge David Saunders said a deterrent sentence might have to be considered.

"We can't have people with shotguns discharging them recklessly in public places."

The judge remanded Ngarimu in custody for sentence, and asked for a pre-sentence report to consider his suitability for home detention. He noted that he had breached his last community detention and been sentenced to imprisonment for that last year.

The Press