James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

'No point' in keeping hunter in jail - victim's father

A family photograph of Rosemary Ives, who was fatally shot by a hunter who mistook her headtorch for a deer's eyes. Photo / Alan Gibson
A family photograph of Rosemary Ives, who was fatally shot by a hunter who mistook her headtorch for a deer's eyes. Photo / Alan Gibson

The father of a woman shot by a Hamilton hunter who thought she was a deer says he is sorry the man will not be released from jail before Christmas instead of next month.

Andrew Mears will walk out of prison in January having served 11 months of his 2-year sentence for the manslaughter of Lower Hutt schoolteacher Rosemary Ives in October last year.

Her father, Malcolm Ives, yesterday told the Herald from his Nelson home he was not forgiving Mears' crime.

"I'm just sorry he wasn't home in time for Christmas," said Mr Ives.

"I wouldn't say I'm forgiving but I don't see any point in keeping him in jail any longer. It's more important he gets back with his family and gets a job.

"I would like to think I think rationally about things.

"In a case like this you have to try and keep emotive responses out of it."

Mr Ives said he was not involved with the Parole Board's decision to release Mears and had not had any contact with him or any correspondence from him. He was not sure if they would ever meet.

"I would have liked to have done that long ago but no one ever made that opportunity available," said Mr Ives.

"I'm just disappointed that he never bothered to get in contact himself."

Now 26, Mears was illegally spotlighting with friends south of Turangi near the Department of Conservation campsite at Kaimanawa Rd.

At the same time Miss Ives was brushing her teeth with her boyfriend, physicist Adam Hyndman.

Mears mistakenly thought Miss Ives' head torch was a deer's eyes and fired a single round from his Remington .243 rifle, fatally wounding her.

Mr Hyndman tried frantically for 90 minutes to save his girlfriend's life but despite further assistance from paramedics she died at the scene.

Mears, who was sent to prison in February having pleaded guilty to Miss Ives' manslaughter, appeared before the Parole Board last week alongside a prospective employer.

Parole Board documents obtained by the Herald said Mears was still grief-stricken because of the shooting, but described him as "a very positive inmate" who had associated with the right crowd.

The documents said he had completed a parenting course and had undertaken other training available to him in prison and had strong employment prospects upon his release.

A minimum-security inmate, he was classified as posing no risk to the community.

Deerstalkers Association spokesman Alec McIver said Mears' imprisonment should serve as a deterrent to people spotlighting on public land. He believed such incidents had decreased because of negative publicity following Miss Ives' death.

Mears' friends Brad Ward Bennett and Ashley Paul Wolland, both 27, and Kyle Raymond Dean, 18, all admitted breaching their DoC permits and were each fined $2500 when they appeared in Taupo District Court this year.

Mears will be subject to parole conditions until August 2013.

He has been ordered to undertake grief counselling and not to move addresses, change jobs or stay away from his home overnight unless he has told his probation officer first.

Mears is also forbidden to contact Miss Ives' family without the probation officer's permission.

- NZ Herald

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