6 Sep 2016

Stop-go murder trial: Closing arguments given

9:17 pm on 6 September 2016

The man accused of shooting a roadworker dead does not know what happened, because he was not there, his lawyer says.

George Taiaroa (left) and Quinton Winders

George Taiaroa (left) and Quinton Winders Photo: Supplied

Quinton Winders denies murdering George Taiaroa, who died from a fatal single shot to the head while operating a stop-go sign in Atiamuri in 2013.

The trial, in the High Court in Rotorua, is in its fifth week, with the Crown calling more than 130 witnesses.

In summing up the defence case today, lawyer Jonathan Temm told jurors that Mr Winders had been accused of lying to police but it was more likely to be mistaken recollection.

"The Crown's case - the evidence you have before you - when you sit down and assess it in a critical, analytical way, leaves you with irresolvable uncertainties.

"There are just uncertainties that cannot be answered."

Mr Temm rejected the Crown's argument that a minor crash at roadworks being controlled by Mr Taiaroa was a catalyst for his client to make a 250km return trip a week later to fatally shoot him.

Mr Temm argued his client had no motive for the killing, nor did he know or had he ever spoken to Mr Taiaroa.

Crown prosecutor Amanda Gordon said in closing earlier that although its case was circumstantial, there was comprehensive evidence against the accused.

Ms Gordon said the accused drove a blue Jeep Cherokee, just like the one witnesses saw.

"The blue Jeep Cherokee, the driver who was male, the only occupant of the vehicle - identified, the Crown says to you, by [witness] Corina Walker - and that clearly this driver is in a hurry, driving at excessive speeds for the conditions."

She said he expressed panic to his employer that he owned a Jeep like the one the police were describing in an appeal to the public for any sightings.

Ms Gordon also told the jury the accused had ample time to make the trip from Taumarunui to the bridge that day.

She said there was no doubt that the bullet which killed Mr Taiaroa was from a .22 rifle, one of which the accused owned.

Justice Toogood will sum up tomorrow morning, before sending the jury out.