24 Aug 2012

Prison for man who killed fellow hunter

8:07 pm on 24 August 2012

A judge has denied home detention to a man who fatally shot another hunter, sentencing him to nine months in prison.

Christopher Dummer was before Wellington District Court on one charge of careless use of a firearm causing death.

The charge related to the shooting of Alexander McDonald, 29, in Aorangi Forest Park in April this year.

Judge Peter Hobbs said there had been three hunting deaths in the last six months, and he considered Dummer's carelessness was at the higher end of the spectrum.

He said Dummer was not a young and inexperienced hunter overcome by adventure and excitement.

Judge Hobbs said, while the sentence was low enough to qualify for home detention, that wouldn't be appropriate.

As well as the jail term, he ordered Dummer to pay $7000 in reparation to the McDonald family and ordered the destruction of the rifle.

Mr McDonald's parents Cyndy and Ranald told the court of the huge grief they feel after losing their son and the chance to share his future.

His mother said her heart was broken and her life like a jigsaw with missing pieces.

She said she hoped Dummer's family never had to go through what her family was going through.

Other family members spoke of Alexander McDonald's good sense of humour, strong work ethic and care for his family.

Afterwards, Mr McDonald's parents said they were pleased with the nine-month jail sentence, saying jail time sends a clear message to other hunters that they have to identify their target.

Bail denied for appeal

On Friday afternoon, Dummer's lawyer sought bail for his client, indicating an appeal would be filed against the jail term.

He said Dummer was disappointed with the sentence.

The Crown opposed bail and Judge Hobbs refused to grant it.

He said the appeal would be heard in two weeks' time and so granting bail was not in the interests of justice.