Boy who shot NZ cousin won't be charged

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 10:11 01/11/2012

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An eight-year-old boy who fatally shot his younger cousin in Samoa is now back with his family after police decided he could not be charged.

James Seuga, five, and the eight-year-old had gone hunting with their uncle at Fagaloa Bay.

James, who was a Samoan national, had been living in New Zealand and his father, Peter May, lives in the Bay of Plenty.

The shooting happened when the uncle reportedly put the loaded gun down briefly while he looked for a stick to carry coconuts home, the eight-year-old's father Pita Leausa told the Observer.

"My brother turned away for less than a minute then the next minute he heard a gunshot," Leausa said. "The children were fighting over the gun when it happened."

James was shot in the face from a distance of about 5 metres.

Police initially took the boy and the uncle into custody pending charges, but Talamua news website reported Assistant Commissioner of Police Leaupepe Fatu Pula as saying the boy was too young to be charged.

"This eight-year-old kid was released from police custody and he is now living with his family at Uafato, Fagaloa, but only the uncle is in custody."

Charges were still being considered against the uncle.

He said the weapon was unlawful and not registered.

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