Murder accused 'aware' of risk to mother

VICTORIA ROBINSON
Last updated 13:57 16/07/2012

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A man who allegedly ran down a mother in front of her son must have known there was a chance she could die, a jury has been told.

The Crown has finished summing up its case in the High Court at Auckland in the trial of Christopher Shadrock.

Shadrock is accused of murdering Jian 'Joanne' Wang who died in hospital from brain injuries after being knocked down by a four-wheel drive in the car park of the Manukau Westfield shopping centre in 2008.

Her eight-year-old son witnessed the event.

Four of Shadrock's friends - Maka Tuikolovatu, Vila Lemanu, Lionel Tekanawa and Terence Tere - have been charged with being accessories, allegedly helping him dispose of evidence despite knowing he was a wanted man.

All five have pleaded not guilty.

The Crown case is that Shadrock ran down Wang after stealing her handbag.

He did not expect her to give chase, and she held on to the front of the stolen four-wheel-drive he was trying to get away in.

The Crown said Shadrock drove into her in his desperation to get away, knowing that she might die.

His defence argued that it never occurred to Shadrock that Wang might be killed.

Crown lawyer Kevin Glubb told the jury today they needed to look at the big picture of evidence in front of them.

He said while some of the evidence presented to the jury about security camera footage had been technical, in reality the issues in the case were simple.

The jury needed to bring common sense to the task, and ask three key questions where Shadrock was concerned.

They needed to determine where Wang was standing when she was hit.

Glubb said the Crown case is that Wang was in front of the four-wheel drive, not to the side of it as the defence suggested.

The jury also needed to consider whether Shadrock was aware of Wang's presence when he accelerated forward.

Wang was seen yelling and screaming at Shadrock by other witnesses, and was holding on to the bonnet of the car, Glubb said, meaning there was no way Shadrock could not have known she was there.

The final question the jury needed to consider was whether Shadrock knew Wang could be killed when he allegedly drove into her.

"He must have known if you drive a vehicle like that into a pedestrian she could well die. But drive it like that he did and it follows he must be responsible for his conduct," Glubb said.

Shadrock's defence lawyer, Chris Wilkinson-Smith, said his client did not intend to hurt anyone that day.

In an interview with police soon after Wang's death, Shadrock admitted stealing Wang's handbag, which had between $2000 and $4000 inside.

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He told police the van had "hopped" when he suddenly changed from reverse to drive and, with his foot still on the accelerator, rammed in to Wang.

The Crown said there was no evidence of hopping in the footage.

Shadrock said in the interview that he had a "bad feeling someone had been hurt" but there were lots of thoughts clouding his mind as he left, one being "what's in the bag".

Glubb said there was no question Shadrock's co-accused - Lemanu, Tekanawa and Tere - knew what they were doing when they burnt the four-wheel drive days after Wang's death.

He also said Tuikolovatu disposed of Wang's handbag to help his friend, even though he knew it was connected to her death.

Shadrock's defence is expected to sum up this afternoon.

- Auckland Now

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