A man who allegedly mistook a woman for a deer before shooting her dead at a campsite is to reappear in court today, this time charged with manslaughter.
Andrew Mears, a 25-year-old motor trimmer from Hamilton, originally pleaded guilty to a charge of carelessly using a firearm causing death when he appeared in the Taupo District Court on November 3.
But police sought a remand without plea on the charge pending the recommendations of the Crown Solicitor at Rotorua. Yesterday the officer leading the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Todd Pearce, said Mears would now also face a charge of manslaughter.
Mr Pearce said it was appropriate for police to seek further advice about the charge, given the incident's wider circumstances.
"The circumstances of Ms Ives' death were different from what police deal with in most hunting-related incidents and deaths, so it was important that additional advice and review was sought."
Mears was charged after he shot Rosemary Ives, a 25-year-old Lower Hutt teacher, at a campsite south of Turangi on October 22 while he was spotlighting with three friends.
Ms Ives had gone to the Kaimanawa Ranges for a rock-climbing trip with her boyfriend, Adam Hyndman, and was brushing her teeth when Mears allegedly mistook the LED lights she was wearing on her head for a deer.
Neither Mears nor his wife Brooke were at their Hamilton home when the Herald visited yesterday.
Mrs Mears earlier told the Herald on Sunday she hoped people would not judge her husband.
She said the couple had offered their condolences to the Ives family and accepted he could go to jail.
Deerstalkers Association president Alec McIver said the other men spotlighting with Mears on the night should also have been charged.
But he said the association was pleased Mears had been charged with manslaughter because "he needs to be made an example of".