Police officer cleared in Bellingham shooting case

A police officer who shot and killed a man on a Christchurch street in September will not be charged with any criminal offence.

Canterbury police district commander Superintendent Dave Cliff said today a "careful and thorough" police investigation had concluded the officer faced no criminal liability.

Stephen Jon Bellingham was fatally shot by a senior police officer in Stanmore Rd, Linwood, shortly after 8.30pm on September 26.

Witnesses said Mr Bellingham, 37, was advancing on the officer waving a claw hammer above his head, after attacking his own flat and cars parked nearby.

"Police are fully satisfied that in the circumstances the officer was in fear of his life and acting in self-defence and that no less violent means of stopping Mr Bellingham was available to him in those circumstances," Mr Cliff said.

Police had advised both Mr Bellingham's family and the officer this morning.

The officer was expected to return to active duty in the new year, he said.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is still inquiring into the shooting. It is expected well into the New Year.

- NZPA

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