Man shot by police threatened to kill officers

By Corey Charlton

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A man left paralysed after being shot by police near Otane has been convicted of threatening to kill the police officers who shot him.

On October 20, 2011, 49-year-old David Andrew Taite, wanted by police, was pulled over with his cousin by police just outside Otane. All police working the nightshift that evening were armed because they had received information there was likely to be an aggravated robbery that night.

Two police officers, identified only as Officers P and Q, approached the vehicle and undertook identification checks, suspecting correctly the passenger was Taite. While this occurred, Taite became agitated and against the advice of his cousin, got out of the vehicle and approached the police officers.

The charges, along with two for dangerous driving, were the subject of a defended hearing in late September, where Taite was later found not guilty of presenting a whiskey bottle as if it were a firearm. Yet his claim that he approached officers to surrender himself was dismissed by Judge Brooke Gibson.

"I believe that he thought that if he confronted the police in an aggressive way then he might be able to force them to withdraw and he could make good his escape," Judge Gibson's decision said.

Despite police warnings they were armed and he should stop approaching them, Taite continued to approach Officer P, and was shot once.

Evidence presented of the incident by Taite, his cousin and the two police officers differed slightly during the defended hearing, but Judge Gibson agreed there were threats made by Taite.

"Consequently the evidence satisfies me that the defendant did make threats to the officers in the way described, namely statements that he had a gun and threats to kill them."

Taite's claim that he threatened police only after he was shot, was rejected.

"In any event not only did he utter the words but he meant them to be taken seriously and so the two informations of threatening to kill are proved against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt, the required standard of proof in a criminal case."

When approaching police he had his hand in his pocket, concealing something the police officers thought was a weapon. While Judge Gibson acknowledged it was Taite's intention to give the officers the impression he had a gun, he was discharged on the two charges of presenting a whiskey bottle as if it were a firearm as he had not at any point actually deployed it.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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