10 Nov 2011

Man who shot police officers and dog gets 14 years

4:15 pm on 10 November 2011

A man who shot two police officers and killed a police dog has been sentenced to 14 years in prison with a minimum non-parole period of seven years.

The sentencing of Christopher Graeme Smith took place last week but the details were suppressed until Thursday.

Smith pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Senior Constable Bruce Lamb, who was shot in the face, and injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, after shooting Constable Mitchel Alatalo in the leg.

He was given a 16-month term for shooting dead the police dog, Gage, who is credited with saving Mr Lamb's life.

Passing sentence at the High Court in Christchurch, Justice Whata said Smith had failed to express remorse for his actions and there were no mitigating factors that might lead to a discount on his sentence.

Constable 'still struggling' with aftermath

The officers involved in Smith's arrest expressed disbelief at his actions, which they described as being a massive overreaction to what started out as a routine drug bust.

Speaking on behalf of Constable Alatalo during the sentencing, prosecutor Brent Stanaway said that 18 months on, the constable is still struggling to cope with the psychological harm the incident caused him.

He said Mr Alatolo goes about his work in a professional manner but finds it a constant struggle to be there.