Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Shooter's actions 'absolutely moronic' - judge

File photo / Bay of Plenty Times
File photo / Bay of Plenty Times

It started with a row over an ex partner at a set of traffic lights.

And it ended hours later when Lance Ross shot Jarod Hay through the chest with a rifle in Christchurch's Hagley Park.

Today, 23-year-old Ross was jailed for five years for actions a judge slammed as "stupid to the point of being absolutely moronic".

Details of the shooting in the early hours of Sunday, August 11 last year were finally revealed at Christchurch District Court this afternoon.

Ross, of Upper Riccarton, who worked at a city tow-bar firm, had been a passenger in a van driving around the city streets that night.

At a set of traffic lights, the van came up alongside another car that featured an ex-boyfriend of one of Ross' friends in the van.

During an altercation, Hay punched out the rear window of van and took off, the court heard.

Ross and his mates then "decided to up the ante", Judge Raoul Neave, said.

He went to his house nearby and retrieved a rifle and ammunition in what the judge said amounted to "a piece of imbecility that's hard to equal".

It was loaded and tucked under the van's rear seat.

They drove around looking for Hay and at around 3am, their paths crossed again, on Harper Ave beside Hagley Park.

Outside the van, Hay punched his ex-girlfriend, a friend of Ross', to the ground.

On seeing the attack, Ross got the rifle, pointed it out of the van window and fired a high warning shot.

He loaded another live round in the chamber, aimed it directly at Hay, and fired.

The bullet entered the right side of his chest and exited out his back.

Hay was rushed to Christchurch Hospital where he spent five days recovering.

The court heard today that Hay is now back at work but still suffers from breathlessness and pain, and is finding it "difficult to settle, and that's understandable", the judge said.

Judge Neave told Ross in the dock that his actions were incredibly dangerous.

He said it took "two to tango", with Hay contributing significantly to events, and if he had not been charged himself for assault, then he should consider himself very lucky.

But even then, he did "nothing to bring down the use of a firearm on his head".

The judge also criticised friends of Ross, who "didn't exercise one ounce of common sense" in trying to talk Ross out of getting the gun.

Ross admitted unlawful possession of a firearm, reckless discharge of a .22 calibre Magnum rifle, and firing the weapon at Hay with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Defence counsel Phillip Allan said Ross' friends and family were in court to support him.

References provided to the court showed Ross he had "not had the worst childhood of persons who come before the courts" but his background is not without some difficulties, defence counsel Phillip Allan said.

A pre-sentence report assessed him as being at a "low risk of reoffending", Mr Allan said, a statement that caused a man in the public gallery to exclaim: "Low risk? He's done it once."

Judge Neave jailed Ross for five years for his "entirely out of character behaviour".

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 26 Jul 2014 22:08:29 Processing Time: 1161ms