21 Feb 2011

Police apology might have averted legal action

9:15 am on 21 February 2011

The lawyer representing a man sueing police for gross negligence and mental trauma says legal action could have been avoided.

In 2009, Richard Neville was caught in the crossfire and shot when police officers were in pursuit of Stephen Hohepa McDonald on an Auckland motorway.

During the same incident, 17-year-old Halatau Naitoko was shot mistakenly by police and died.

Mr Neville was hit with a bullet that fragmented when it went through his vehicle, causing splinters of lead and copper to pepper his arm and upper chest.

Because of his injuries, he is unable to work and has to wear hearing aids.

His lawyer, Nicholas Taylor, says the legal action could have been avoided if the police had treated him as a victim and the officer involved had apologised.