Man who sparked siege jailed

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A man who sparked a three-hour siege in a North Shore suburb after appearing to shoot at a police helicopter was trying to get police to kill him, a court has heard.

Mark Christopher Brown, 50, was today sentenced to 23 months in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting three police officers using an air gun as a weapon and pointing a firearm at an officer. He also admitted injuring a police dog.

Brown had grabbed an air rifle and began cocking it and pulling the trigger in his home in Torbay after "losing control" on June 14. Police and the Armed Offenders Squad were called to the scene at Awaruku Rd, putting the area into lock-down.

He fired at police in an Eagle helicopter and at others on the ground, but it later emerged the airgun was not loaded and police found no ammunition at the property. However, the court heard that officers believed it was loaded at the time, and the sound it made as Brown pulled the trigger would have sounded like he was firing a live round.

Brown, who had already spent five months in custody for the incident, told the Parole Board that he had wielded the air rifle "in an attempt to get police to shoot [him] as part of a suicide attempt".

When he emerged from the house, wearing a motorcycle helmet and appearing to fire the gun, he yelled at police to shoot him.

Brown was suffering from serious mental health problems at the time of the incident, which were exacerbated after access to his children was restricted, North Shore District Court heard today.

He suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive episodes, and has an historical brain injury. The court heard he had responded well to treatment in prison and his PTSD symptoms were easing.

Police eventually captured Brown with the use of a police dog, which was injured in the arrest after Brown hit it over the head with the air rifle.

His lawyer told the court Brown considered himself a dog lover, and attacked the dog only because he was in pain from the animal biting his leg.

Brown was sentenced to 23 months in prison, with leave to apply for home detention if a suitable address was found.

He was also ordered to pay reparation of $195.40 for veterinary bills for the injured dog, and an order was made for the destruction of the air rifle.


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