Hunter who shot mate gets home detention

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 12:45 14/05/2012
SENTENCED: Reuben Burke during sentencing for careless use of a firearm causing the death of his best friend, Dougal Fyfe, in the Queenstown District Court.
Grant Bryant
SENTENCED: Reuben Burke during sentencing for careless use of a firearm causing the death of his best friend, Dougal Fyfe, in the Queenstown District Court.

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A Wanaka man who killed his best mate with a shot he intended for a wounded stag was today sentenced to seven months' home detention.

Reuben Kenneth James Burke, 25, victim Dougal Fyfe and another man went eeling and then rabbit shooting after a barbecue on December 18.

They did not intend to go after deer, but when one was spotted, wounded, Burke and Fyfe followed.

Fyfe was fatally shot by Burke, who mistook his friend for the deer.

At the sentencing today, Judge Kevin Phillips said no matter the sentence he imposed, Burke "would sentence himself every morning for the rest of his life".

An amount of $10,000, which Burke had made available to the Fyfe family today, was ordered by Judge Phillips to be paid immediately as emotional-harm reparation.

Burke also had his firearms licence revoked, the rifle that the fatal shot was fired from forfeited to the Crown, and 300 hours' community work added to his sentence.

The families of both men attended.

After sentencing, Fyfe's father, Grant, released a statement that said the sentencing was "a very sad time for everyone involved and we miss our Dougal very much".

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- The Southland Times

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