Judge to sum up in undercover cop killing

By Andrew Koubaridis

A judge will today sum up in the trial of two men accused of the shooting murder of an undercover policeman, before the jury begins its deliberations.

The trial yesterday heard closing addresses by defence lawyers acting for Iain Lindsay Clegg and John Ward Skinner who have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Sergeant Don Wilkinson and attempted murder of his colleague, who has name suppression, and is known as Officer M.

The Crown alleges Skinner and Clegg chased Mr Wilkinson and Officer M after they were caught attempting to install a tracking device on a car outside Skinner's home in Mangere, South Auckland, on September 11, 2008.

They confronted them on a nearby street where both officers were shot. Mr Wilkinson died at the scene but Officer M survived.

Stuart Grieve QC, on behalf of Clegg, rejected a Crown assertion the murder was a joint enterprise.

He told the High Court at Auckland Skinner was "acting on his own" when he shot Mr Wilkinson.

"The two men reacted when they saw the intruders. There was no time for a plan. They challenged the intruders and Clegg chased them. But they were not acting together or as part of a plan."

Clegg had "no clue that Mr Skinner would act in the way that he did" and didn't know how powerful the air rifle he had was.

The lawyer said Clegg believed Officer M was a burglar, who was in a "martial arts stance", as if he was ready to fight.

He punched him but did not attack him with nunchakas, as had been alleged by another officer, Officer W.

Marie Dyhrberg, representing Skinner, said he was responding to a very serious threat.

"The evidence in this case does not fit with the Crown's theory that Skinner intended to harm someone on that September night, let alone intended to kill someone," she told the court.

She said even the Crown did not dispute that the accused thought the police officers were burglars.

- ADDITIONAL REPORTING: NZPA

- NZ Herald

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