23 Mar 2017

Teen's death while duck shooting 'avoidable'

5:49 pm on 23 March 2017

A coroner wants major changes to hunting rules as he releases his findings into the "avoidable" death of a teenage boy who accidentally shot himself duck shooting.

A hunter loads a rifle with ammunition.

Photo: 123RF

Jamie Ross Johnston, 15, died on a hunting trip with friends in Whakatane in May 2015.

His friends were in the maimai with him, heard a shot and saw Jamie fall off his chair.

Police said the safety mechanism on his rifle was not engaged.

In his report, the coroner, Wallace Bain, said Jamie's death should never have happened.

"The main issue here is that firearms were provided to the boys and the use of them was facilitated and there was no proper supervision," he said.

Shortly after the accident, the father of one of the boys on the trip was charged with criminal nuisance for allowing an under-age group to be in charge of a firearm.

Mr Bain said he wanted authorities to consider whether the Firearms Safety Code should become law, so that failing to comply with it could result in prosecution.

And there should be an investigation to see whether there needed to be more types of charges available for investigators regarding hunting accidents, the report said.

Mr Bain also called for a change to the code that would mean all hunting would have to cease if hunting companions lost sight of one another.

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