22 Oct 2009

Police had to lay charges - defence lawyer

4:32 pm on 22 October 2009

The lawyer for a man who walked free after killing a friend in self-defence says the police had no choice but to lay charges.

Alan Gundry shot Gene Atkins in January and a jury at the High Court in Auckland has found him not guilty of both murder and manslaughter.

Lawyer Graeme Newell told Morning Report Mr Atkins got into a row with his partner in January that led to a violent confrontation at his client's home, and Mr Gundry was forced to act to protect his family.

Mr Newell said police do not have much discretion under such circumstances.

He said juries are not going to judge people too harshly if they defend their families in their own homes.

Mr Newell said no-one is happy about the circumstances of the case.