18 Nov 2010

Hunter pleads guilty to manslaughter

7:26 pm on 18 November 2010

A hunter who shot and killed a woman while she was at a campsite near Turangi at Labour weekend has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Andrew Mears, 25, of Hamilton, was shaking as he entered the plea in Taupo District Court on Thursday.

The charge was upgraded from careless use of a firearm causing death.

He was spotlighting with friends when he shot teacher Rosemary Ives, 25, while she was brushing her teeth at a Department of Conservation campsite.

Mears mistakenly thought the headlamp Ms Ives was wearing was the eyes of a deer, and shot her through the head.

Mears was convicted and remanded on bail for sentencing in the High Court at Rotorua in February.

Andrew McCrae reports on the hearing for Checkpoint

Lawyer comments

Outside court, lawyer Roger Laybourn said his client wanted to take full responsibility for his actions.

He says Mears is a decent young man who made a terrible mistake.

The Deerstalkers Association says the decision to charge Mears with manslaughter was the right one.

National president Alec McIver says Mears' actions have reflected badly on all hunters.

He says police had no option but to charge Mears with manslaughter.