17 Nov 2012

Man who fired at officer avoids preventive sentence

6:28 am on 17 November 2012

A man who shot at a police officer in central Auckland, while high on methamphetamine, has been sentenced to prison for eight years and three months.

Murray Toleafoa, 30, fired at the officer during a traffic stop in June. The bullet did not hit the officer, but he was grazed and burned.

The High Court in Auckland on Friday heard how the Tribesman member tried to play down the incident, saying he had only meant to scare the officer.

The Crown said the act was reckless and the officer was only alive today because he ducked for cover.

In a statement to the court, the officer said the shooting left him dazed, confused, jumpy and worried at work, especially when dealing with gang members or people with guns.

Crown prosecutor Keiran Raftery said Toleafoa, who had more than 40 previous convictions, was within a hair's breath of being recommended for preventive detention.

He decided not to after advice from authorities, but told the court it would be the case next time.

Mr Raftery also dismissed letters in support of Toleafoa.

"One of the people who've written a letter of support for him says 'please give him a second chance'. If you look at the history, he's had quite a number of second chances."

Justice Woolford said the public needed protecting from Toleafoa, and ordered him to serve at least five years of his sentence.