28 May 2009

Family shocked no charges over motorway shooting

4:49 pm on 28 May 2009

Family members of an innocent bystander killed by police during an armed siege on an Auckland motorway say they are shocked by a decision not to charge anyone over his death.

Halatau Naitoko, 17, died after police mistakenly shot him during a manhunt on Auckland's north western motorway in January.

Mr Naitoko's mother says she has been in shock since hearing of the decision.

His grandmother says the decision is unfair and it has brought back the grief the family first felt at his death

Spokesperson Peter Sykes says the family remains in the dark about why no one has been charged with the teenager's death.

The man the police say was at the centre of the standoff with officers, Stephen Hohepa McDonald, appeared in Auckland District Court again on Thursday charged with a total of 36 offences relating to events leading up to and including the motorway incident.

But he is not being charged over Mr Naitoko's death, nor are the Armed Offenders Squad officers involved.

Auckland City District Commander Superintendent George Fraser says the decision came after a lengthy and thorough investigation.

Superintendent Fraser did not give any further reasons for the decision, saying there are still serious matters before the court relating to the incident.

He says the AOS officers were advised of the decision on Wednesday through their legal counsel and Mr Naitoko's family was also told.

Investigations by the Independent Police Conduct Authority and the coroner are ongoing.

The officers involved in the operation have returned to duties.