Teen pleads not guilty to fatally shooting friend

By Edward Gay

Zhivargo Edward Blake Williams. Photo / File / Richard Robinson
Zhivargo Edward Blake Williams. Photo / File / Richard Robinson

A teenager accused of shooting and killing his friend with a high-powered air rifle after a day of drinking and cannabis smoking has pleaded not guilty.

Zhivargo Edward Blake Williams, 18, made a brief appearance at the High Court at Auckland today where his lawyer Oscar Hintze re-iterated his client's not guilty plea to manslaughter and possession of a firearm.

Williams was charged over the death of Shaun Townsley in the backyard of a Manurewa home on January 12.

Mr Townsley was rushed to Middlemore Hospital after the incident but died soon after arrival.

Justice Timothy Brewer said the police alleged Williams had been drinking and smoking cannabis before he pulled the trigger in the darkened backyard.

He said two other people were urinating next to a log and the pellet hit one of them in the heart.

Justice Brewer said it was not clear whether Williams knew the two people were there or what he was thinking when he is alleged to have fired the air rifle.

The judge said Williams had told police he was aiming at a can on the log.

He has been remanded on bail and is due to stand trial in May next year.

Detective Inspector Dave Lynch has previously said the airgun allegedly used by Williams was bought legally and was not covered by laws surrounding high-powered air rifles.

"In general terms it would appear that some people still have the perception that airguns are toys."

He said he was aware of three recent cases in which people had been shot by airguns.

- APNZ

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