Curse filled outburst brings judge's rebuke

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A man paralysed when shot by police while allegedly grasping a bottle as if threatening to shoot two officers in a morning stand-off in Central Hawke's Bay was himself yesterday threatened with having to sit out his court case in the cells.

The warning came from Judge Brooke Gibson as David Andrew Taite, of Dannevirke, appeared in Napier District Court denying six charges relating to events before he was shot near Otane early on October 20, 2011.

In a hearing yesterday afternoon, wheelchair-bound Taite, 39, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of presenting an object pretending it was a firearm, and two of threatening the male and female officer in a standoff at the side of State Highway 2 just south of the turnoff to the Otane township.

He also denied two charges of dangerous driving following events while being sought by police in the township 48 hours earlier, but admitted two charges of burglary and one of unlawfully taking an Audi car in other incidents in the days before the shooting and his capture.

The judge's warning came after Taite repeatedly interjected during crown prosecutor Clayton Walker's outlining of the police case. "What a lot of bullshit," Taite said, prompting a warning that he'd be held in custody if he did not refrain.

Moments later he came out with a further expletive and, after yet another utterance, the court was adjourned for defence counsel Eric Forster to talk with his client.

Taite was allowed back in the courtroom but only with his sister at his side.

Police were alerted to Taite's presence in Otane on the morning of October 18.

Waipawa police Constable Clinton Powell told the court he went to the township and stopped a vehicle driven by Taite.


It was in the following moments the alleged dangerous driving occurred, the vehicle at one stage speeding towards him on the wrong side of the road and passing less than an arm's length away, the officer said.

Mr Walker said in his opening that Taite drove off and was not seen by police again until early on October 20, as a passenger in a vehicle driven by another man. Two officers stopped the vehicle on SH2. Driver Carlos Hapuku identified himself but Taite gave a false name. As an officer returned to the patrol car, Taite, ignoring Mr Hapuku's advice, got out of the vehicle and walked towards the other officer, with his hand in his pocket holding a bottle, and saying he had a gun and would shoot her.

Mr Walker said the officer in the patrol car got out and told Taite to take his hand out of his pocket, but despite the officer drawing a pistol and warning him again, Taite continued advancing with further threats and was shot.

Falling to the ground, Taite claimed to have a grenade, but was subdued in a struggle, arrested, and tended by the officers as they awaited an ambulance, Mr Walker said. In hospital in Christchurch he was said to have asked police about the wellbeing of the officer who had fired the shot, and apologised for putting the officer in "that position," Mr Walker said.

But in a formal interview, Taite said he had his hands up and was talking to one officer when the other shot him.

The hearing is expected to end today.

 

- Hawkes Bay Today

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